:: Australian Dollar: The Australian Dollar opens at 0.7255 on Friday after spending most of the last 24 hours strengthening against the greenback. The Aussie rallied sharply late yesterday afternoon on improved risk sentiment and hit a of 0.7383 - a level not seen since October 2008. In the absence of any major local data recently, traders looked at the release yesterday of an increase in Japanese industrial production for March as an improvement in the region's economic condition. However, offshore profit-takers swooped on the 7-month high and quickly sold the Aussie back down beneath US73 cents. After yesterday's interest rate cut in New Zealand, the Aussie has firmed against the kiwi and opens today at 1.2820.
- We expect a range today in the AUD/USD rate of 0.7210 to 0.7325
:: Great Britain Pound: Pound Sterling opens steady on Friday at 1.4791 against its US counterpart, but had another busy session trading as high as 1.4948 early Thursday morning. Improved risk sentiment towards the greenback ensured the rally was short-lived. Another strong performance on UK equities also failed to re-ignite the pound as investors chose to stay on the sidelines late in the session ahead of UK housing data on Friday. Meanwhile, the pound is also steady against both the Australian Dollar (2.0380) and the New Zealand Dollar (2.6150).
- We expect a range today in the GBP/AUD rate of 2.0200 to 2.0450
:: New Zealand Dollar: Despite an improvement in global risk sentiment, the New Zealand Dollar has not been able to benefit after yesterday's local interest rate cut. The kiwi opens on Friday at 0.5638, marginally above the 24-hour low of 0.5624. Yesterday, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand cut its official cash rate by 50 basis points to 2.50 per cent and spelt out that interest rates would remain low well into 2010. There is no local data due for release today and investors will look for direction from moves in the region's equity markets.
- We expect a range today in the NZD/USD rate of 0.5595 to 0.5710
:: Majors: The Euro has weakened against the US dollar overnight and opens this morning at 1.3227, down from an overnight high of 1.3385. Economic data in the Euro zone came in worse than expected underlining concerns that the worst is not yet over. Unemployment in the Euro zone rose to 8.9 per cent in March, up from 8.7 per cent the previous month. In the United States, claims by workers for unemployment benefits fell unexpectedly indicating to market participants that the pace of lay-offs may finally be starting to ease. Meanwhile, the greenback is also firmer against the Japanese Yen which opens at 98.58, up from 97.50 this time yesterday.
:: Data Releases:
* AUD: Performance of Manufacturing Index, April
* CAD: No Data Due Today
* EUR: No Data Due Today
* GBP: HBOS House Prices, March
* JPY: Household spending, Jobless rate, March
* NZD: No Data Due Today
* USD: ISM Manufacturing Orders, March