:: Australian Dollar: The Aussie dollar clawed back some of its losses in Asia yesterday climbing back above 91 cents as commodity prices steadied and the RBA painted a positive picture of the Australian economy. Following a brief exchange above 0.9130 in offshore trade the AUD/USD eventually succumbed to more selling on EUR/USD and opens this morning near yesterday's lows at 0.9075. In Asia today the Aussie dollar is likely to be supported somewhat from more central bank rhetoric with RBA governor Stevens following on from his deputy Philip Lowe at the ACI world congress in Sydney. Also affecting the currencies heading into the weekend will be key data out of Japan and the U.S with developments in the Euro-zone still critical to global risk appetite. 

- We expect a range today in the AUD/USD rate of 0.9020 to 0.9100 

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:: Great Britain Pound: UK retail sales recorded a 2.1% for February, their largest increase since May 2008, fuelling the Pound to brush 1.5000 offshore. This proved to be a momentary gasp for air as the Sterling fell below 1.4800 following comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke signalled that the Fed may intend to sell its holding of mortgage backed securities as 'one way of applying monetary restraint'. This morning the Pound once again opens lower at 1.4805 against the US Dollar. Meanwhile the Pound opens at 1.6328 against the Aussie and 2.1025 against the Kiwi.

- We expect a range today in the GBP/AUD rate of 1.6250 to 1.6380 

:: New Zealand Dollar: New Zealand's currency advanced to 0.7100 offshore as the nation reported its economy grew 0.8% last quarter, the fastest pace in two years. The robust economic growth boosted prospects for the central bank to raise interest rates, removing monetary stimulus. However investors pulled away from the Kiwi as the US reported improved jobless claims. Risk aversion is heightened as European leaders convene for Day 2 of their Economic Summit after last night's introduction of IMF measures. Ahead of today's NZ Trade Balance figures the Kiwi opens at 0.7030 against the USD.

- We expect a range today in the NZD/USD rate of 0.7000 to 0.7080 

:: Majors: Overnight German consumer confidence remains unchanged at 3.2 from the previous month. The announcement saw the Euro gain back some of its losses after falling below 1.33 against the USD during late Asian trade. News from the US capped the Euro around 1.3370 as initial jobless claims declined by 14000 compared to the 2000 drop expected by the market. EU leaders have reached an accord to provide Greece with unsubsidized loans to cover more than half the Greek debt with balance coming from the IMF. Continued opposition by European Central Bank President Trichet has forced the Euro to fall sharply to a fresh 10 month low of 1.3267. Investor anxiety continues to fuel a flight to US safety with the US dollar gaining the most against the Yen hitting 92.50, a level not seen since the beginning of this year. Continued US strength has seen the Euro today at 1.3277. Meanwhile the Yen opens at 92.690 ahead of inflation reports today and US GDP tonight.

:: Data Releases:

  • AUD: RBA Governor Speaks & Jan Conference Board Leading Index
  • NZD: Feb Trade Balance
  • USD: Q4 GDP, Q4 Personal Consumption & Mar Forecast Uni of Michigan Confidence Survey
  • GBP: Q4 Business Investment
  • EUR: Day 2 of EU Summit
  • JPY: Feb CPI