:: Australian Dollar: The Australian Dollar opens lower today at 0.8860. During the domestic session on Thursday the unit hit a high of 0.8950 after the announcement of a 5.5 per cent advance in local fourth quarter capital expenditure. However, the gains were short-lived and the Aussie fell throughout the Asian session towards US89 cents in line with a sharply weaker Euro, which fell below 1.3500. In offshore trade, the currency succumbed to a renewed bout of risk aversion on concerns that ratings agencies may downgrade Greece's credit rating. The Aussie hit a low of US88 cents in early New York before profit-takers emerged pushing the currency back towards today's opening levels.
- We expect a range today in the AUD/USD rate of 0.8840 to 0.8910
:: Great Britain Pound: Pound Sterling opens sharply lower against the greenback on Friday at 1.5250 on budget deficit concerns as ratings agencies said they may downgrade Greece's debt. The pound hit fresh 9-month lows overnight at 1.5188 as risk-aversion took hold amid growing claims that the Bank of England will need to keep interest rates near record lows throughout the remainder of 2010. Meanwhile, the pound opens lower against both the Australian Dollar (1.7190) and the New Zealand Dollar (2.2100).
- We expect a range today in the GBP/AUD rate of 1.7100 to 1.7240
:: New Zealand Dollar: The New Zealand Dollar opens lower today at 0.6890. During the domestic session on Thursday the unit hit a high of 0.6945 after the release of local business confidence data which rose to a 10-year high. However, the unit met with strong technical resistance once again at this level and fell throughout the remainder of the Asian session beneath US69 cents. During the offshore session, the kiwi fell on renewed risk-aversion amid growing concerns over Greek sovereign debt. The currency hit a low of 0.6846 before tracking the Aussie Dollar higher late in the session towards this morning's opening level.
- We expect a range today in the NZD/USD rate of 0.6850 to 0.6925
:: Majors: Renewed risk-aversion amid market concerns that ratings agencies may downgrade Greece's credit rating strengthened the Japanese Yen across the board overnight. The greenback hit a 3-week low against the Yen at 88.79. Adding to the overall bearish tone over the last 24-hours was the release of weaker-than-expected U.S. economic data. Orders for durable goods (which are a solid measure of demand), fell 0.6 per cent in January whilst claims for jobless benefits in the week ending February 20 rose 22,000 to 396,000. The data underlines the comments made yesterday by Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke that the recovery is nascent and will require low interest rate settings for an extended period. Meanwhile, the Euro dipped as low as 1.3450 yesterday and opens this morning in Sydney at 1.3542.
:: Data Releases:
- AUD: Private credit, Jan
- CAD: Current account, Q4
- EUR: EZ CPI, Jan; Germany CPI, Feb
- GBP: Consumer confidence, Feb
- JPY: CPI, consumer confidence, retail sales, Jan
- NZD: Merchandise trade, building consents, Jan
- USD: Existing home sales, Jan