:: Australian Dollar: The Australian Dollar opens higher today at 0.9310 and is consolidating upon its recent gains versus the greenback. The Aussie jumped half a US cent during yesterday's domestic session to an intraday zenith of 0.9303 after the release of better-than-expected December labour force data. Total employment rose by 35,200 for a jobless rate of 5.5 per cent, far better than the 5.8 per cent figure expected by most analysts. A strong session on local equities also helped to spur the currency. During offshore trade, the unit hit a high of 0.9329 after weak U.S retail sales and initial jobless claims softened the greenback.
- We expect a range today in the AUD/USD rate of 0.9270 to 0.9350
:: Great Britain Pound: Pound Sterling (1.6328) opens higher for a fifth straight session against the U.S. Dollar. In the absence of any local data releases, the pound moved to fresh 4-week highs (1.6346) as U.K. stocks gained for the first time in three days. A softer greenback late in the session also supported the currency. Meanwhile, the pound is weaker against the Australian Dollar (1.7520) and steady against the New Zealand Dollar (2.1980).
- We expect a range today in the GBP/AUD rate of 1.7460 to 1.7580
:: New Zealand Dollar: The New Zealand Dollar opens higher on Friday at 0.7415 against the greenback today. For a fourth straight domestic session, the kiwi traded in a tight band between 0.7390 and an intraday high of 0.7417. A rise of 3.1 per cent in local November building consents failed to ignite the currency. During the overnight session, the currency moved as high as 0.7442 after weak U.S retail sales and initial jobless claims softened the greenback. On the cross rates, the kiwi is weaker against its Australian counterpart and opens today at 0.7970.
- We expect a range today in the NZD/USD rate of 0.7390 to 0.7445
:: Majors: The Euro opens flat against the U.S. Dollar today at 1.4500 after interest rates were left on hold at 1 per cent overnight and the Central Bank signalled that Greece's fiscal problems would not get any special treatment. The Euro is likely to remain under pressure near-term as the Greek government has approved plans to increase the budget deficit. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the Greek budget deficit may send the Euro into a very difficult phase. Meanwhile, the greenback is weaker against the Japanese Yen at 90.95 after U.S. retail sales dropped 0.3 per cent in December to underline the modest nature of the economic recovery. Initial jobless claims also rose 11,000 from the previous week to 444,000.
:: Data Releases:
- AUD: No data today
- CAD: No data today
- EUR: EZ CPI, Dec; Trade Balance, Nov
- GBP: No data today
- JPY: No data today
- NZD: Card Spending, Dec
- USD: Uni of Michigan Confidence, Jan; Industrial Production & Capacity Utilization, Dec