:: Australian Dollar: The Australian Dollar opens the week at 0.6534, largely unchanged from this time on Friday. The local unit firmed on Friday afternoon and into the European session, hitting a high of 0.6641 after the Federal Government won senate support for its $42 billion economic stimulus package. By recent standards, there was very little movement in the Aussie in offshore trade. It tracked the Euro lower as the Euro zone suffered its deepest contraction on record in the last quarter of 2008. The Aussie opens the week slightly higher against the Euro and Japanese Yen. The absence of any major local data and a public holiday in the United States is expected to keep a lid on the Aussie at US66 cents.
- We expect a range today in the AUD/USD rate of 0.6480 to 0.6570
:: Great Britain Pound: It was another wild ride for the UK pound on Friday night trading between a high of 1.4604 down to a low of 1.4251. Sterling opens the week at 1.4350 after comments on Friday night by Prime Minister Gordon Brown that the pound's recent decline is helping British industry weather the country's first recession since 1991. Currency trading ranges are expected to be narrower over the next 24 hours as there is no economic data due for release in the United Kingdom and US markets are closed for President's Day. Meanwhile, the Pound opens steady this week against both the Australian Dollar (2.1852) and the New Zealand Dollar (2.7450).
- We expect a range today in the GBP/AUD rate of 2.1700 to 2.1900
:: New Zealand Dollar: The New Zealand Dollar opens little-changed from this time on Friday at 0.5217 after trading in a US1 cent range on Friday between 0.5192 and 0.5295. The kiwi is expected to remain under pressure near-term ahead of today's January Performance of Services reading which is expected to move further into contraction territory. Fourth quarter producer prices are also on today's economic calendar. On the cross rates, the local unit was firmer against the Euro and steady against the Aussie, Yen and Pound Sterling.
- We expect a range today in the NZD/USD rate of 0.5160 to 0.5250
:: Majors: The Euro opens lower this week after data revealed the European economy contracted in the fourth quarter. The Euro is currently trading at 1.2855, barely above its overnight low of 1.2820, as gross domestic product declined 1.5 per cent putting further pressure on the European Central Bank to reduce interest rates to all-time lows next month. Meanwhile, the greenback was boosted against the Japanese Yen after the US$787 billion stimulus package was finally passed through the House of Representatives. The big dollar opens the week at 91.80, up from a low on Friday night of 90.52. Keeping a lid on the big dollar this week however will be continued uncertainty over Treasury's plans to stabilise the banking system.
:: Data Releases:
* AUD: Lending Finance, Dec
* CAD: No data expected
* EUR: No data expected
* GBP: No data expected
* JPY: GDP, Q4; Industrial Production, Dec; Capacity Utilization, Deac
* NZD: Performance of Services Index, Dec; PPI Q4
* USD: Markets closed - President''s Day