Friday's trade saw global markets rattled by yet another attempt by the republic of China to curb bank lending. This comes a month after it unexpectedly increased the amount of deposit reserves required by banks, in an effort to reduce the risk of inflation and the likelihood of an asset bubble developing.
We also saw less than convincing Euro-zone Gross domestic product result which fell short of the 0.3 per cent growth expected to rise 0.1 per cent in the fourth quarter. This represents an annual contraction of 2.1 per cent. German Gross domestic product recorded no change in the fourth quarter, against falling short of the 0.2 per cent growth predicted to represent an annual contraction of 2.4 per cent.
US Retail Sales rose 0.5 per cent in the month of January against a previous contraction of 0.1 per cent. Economists had anticipated retail sales to rise 0.4 per cent. The Reuters/Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index fell short of forecasts, retreating to a reading of 73.7 in February from a previous 74.4. The index was predicated to show moderate strength to record a reading of 75.
Currency markets activity saw investors take to cover, preferring the perceived safety of the greenback. The US dollar index which measures the dollar's value relative to six major foreign currencies rose 0.17 per cent to 80.36. The Aussie dollar succumbed to the latest burst of energy from the US Dollar falling to lows of 87.85 US Cents, before regaining composure to close the week with more moderate loss at 88.65 US Cents. At the time of writing the Aussie dollar is buying 88.7 US cents.
It will be a fairly light week for local economic data with the exception of NAB business conditions, and the highly anticipated Minutes for the RBA's February meeting. This will the key driver tomorrow and expect plenty of market reaction as investors look to pre-empt the next move by the RBA in March. Expect European Debt woes to continue to have an impact on the global market activity - with local currency moves to be highly contingent on where the balance of risk falls as more information on the European Union's plan of attack comes to hand.