:: Australian Dollar: The Australian Dollar took a bit of a hit in Asian trade yesterday falling from a seven and half month high of 0.7783 cents as traders stepped in for a brief bout of profit taking. Adding to the little battlers woes was the release of the Westpac-Melbourne Institutes Index of Consumer Sentiment which fell 4.3 percent to 88.8 points in May from 92.7 points in April. Consumers post budget blues are believed to be one of the reasons the index hit its second lowest reading in 10 years confirming that consumers still deem the road to recovery to be long and hard. As the European session progressed, the dollar drifted below 0.77 cents to hit an intraday low of 0.7691 before bouncing up almost a cent to hit a high of 0.7807 as a return to riskier assets enticed traders back into the market. The Australian Dollar will be at the mercy of equity markets for the remainder of the week.
- We expect a range today in the AUD/USD rate of 0.7670 to 0.7770
:: Great Britain Pound: The release overnight of the May 7th minutes by the Bank of England indicated that policy makers voted unanimously 9 - 0 to leave interest rates on hold at record lows of 0.50% and in addition voted to extend their money printing plan by 50 Million Pounds, although some members hinted that a larger stimulus maybe required. For a nation that is currently experiencing one of its worst recessions in a generation, the minutes instilled some confidence back into the markets and we saw the Sterling move higher against the Greenback hitting a high of 1.5791 up almost 2 cents in value prior to the release. Against it Southern Hemisphere counterparts, the Pound opens in Sydney up from yesterday and is currently changing hands at 2.0340 against the Australian Dollar and 2.6060 against the New Zealand Dollar.
- We expect a range today in the GBP/AUD rate of 2.0220 to 2.0450
:: New Zealand Dollar: The New Zealand Dollar opens slightly higher today at 0.6044 due to a bout of greenback weakness overnight as minutes from the US Federal Open Market Committee meeting revealed a further contraction to economic growth and higher unemployment. The kiwi hit an overnight zenith of 0.6111 during the New York trading session, a level not seen for ten days. Looming large for the kiwi over the next 24 - 48 hours will be today's release of visitor arrival numbers for April and profit-takers given the relative ease of the recent rally.
- We expect a range today in the NZD/USD rate of 0.5960 to 0.6090
:: Majors: The big dollar came under selling pressure overnight against both the Japanese yen and the Euro after minutes from the April 29 Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting revealed that the outlook for economic growth had been cut. The Euro opens today at 1.3760, up from an overnight low of 1.3582. US Central Bank governors and regional bank presidents presented a revised set of forecasts at the FOMC including contractions to growth (1.3 per cent to 2 per cent in 2009) and an unemployment rate peaking at 9.6 per cent later this year. Meanwhile, the greenback also lost ground beneath 95.00 against the Japanese Yen.
:: Data Releases:
* AUD: RBA Bulletin, May; AWE, Feb; New Motor Vehicle Sales, April
* CAD: Wholesale Sales, March
* EUR: No Data Due Today
* GBP: Retail Sales, April
* JPY: BoJ Monetary Policy meeting, May
* NZD: Visitor Arrivals, April
* USD: Total Business Investment, Q1