Daily Brief

Daily Brief

See recent articles

A bad day for the birds

Kiwi stalls

For a third day in succession, it was an antipodean that made the running - though not necessarily in the right direction. This time it was the turn of the Kiwi to surprise the market, as it made a forced landing.

Analysts had predicted that New Zealand's employment data for the fourth quarter would paint a picture roughly the same as in Q3. Instead, the figures fell short of forecast on almost every metric. The number of people in work went up by 0.1%, not 0.3%, and the 4.3% rate of unemployment was above the expected 4.1%. There was an immediate cent-and-a-half setback for the Kiwi and it is down by three cents - 1.6% - on the day.

The Australian dollar did not have much fun either, falling by an average of 0.2% against the major currencies. AiG's performance of construction index, the sole Australian ecostat, came in at 43.1, showing a fourth month of falling activity. There was no sharp reaction from the Aussie but the weak number fed concerns about the Australian economy even though it was higher on the month.

Loonie flutters

Canada's dollar also found itself in a little trouble. Barely-adequate Canadian economic data were not of much help and a comment by the Bank of Canada's deputy governor worried investors.

Timothy Lane's speech was billed as uncontroversial: "Taking Precautions: The Canadian Approach to Foreign Reserves Management". Most of it was. But tucked into the 3,500 words was a bit about a lower Canadian dollar being good for the economy. Investors always tick when they hear things like that; it make them wonder whether the authorities are encouraging the weakness. The Loonie is down by a cent.

Canada's economic data showed building permits increasing by 6.0% in December and the Ivey PMI was softer than expected at 54.7. This morning there was more gloom from Germany as a 0.4% monthly fall in industrial output left it 3.9% lower on the year.

Old Lady ruminates

In what used to be called "normal" times, investors would be speculating what the Bank of England could do with monetary policy at lunchtime and how the quarterly Inflation Report might look. Today they hardly care: nothing will happen.

There is not the remotest chance of any change to interest rates until parliament gets - or doesn't get - its Brexit act together. The Inflation Report is therefore also an irrelevance, almost whatever it says, because the Old Lady will almost certainly resist adding to the uncertainty with a rate shift.

Other points of interest today will be the European Commission's updated - and downgraded - growth forecasts and the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR's) estimate of UK growth in the three months to January. Tonight the Reserve Bank of Australia's Monetary Policy Statement might throw more light on its rate outlook. Tomorrow's key numbers are fourth quarter growth in Norway and the Canadian employment data for January.

NZD loses big when jobs data fall short

NZD loses big when jobs data fall short

AUD loses less on soft PMI reading

AUD loses less on soft PMI reading

CAD tripped by BoC chief's comment

CAD tripped by BoC chief's comment

GBP relaxed ahead of BoE Inflation Report

GBP relaxed ahead of BoE Inflation Report

Weekly roundup

Weekly roundup

Go to Weekly round up
Personal payments

Personal payments

With a personal account you can enjoy competitive exchange rates and low fees on all your payments.

Find out more
Foreign exchange business solutions

FX business solutions

We provide tailored services to help companies make global payments and manage their foreign exchange risk.

Find out more
Travel money

Travel money

Order your travel money for branch collection or secure it on our explorer multi-currency Mastercard®.

Find out more