Men at Work
It was a busy day for singles. On their special day in China they collectively spent £9.4bn just at Alibaba. One of them, said to be from Hong Kong, paid £32m for an engagement ring at a Geneva auction. And Men at Work were top of the pops again in Australia.
On an otherwise dull day for economic data it was better-than-expected employment figures that drove the top two currency performers, the Australian dollar and the British pound. With sterling, investors were clearly more interested in the seven-year low of 5.3% for UK unemployment than they were in the unchanged 3.0% increase in overall earnings or the 3.3k extra jobseekers.
With the Aussie, investors were blown away by news of 58.6k new Australian jobs - most of them fulltime - and a fall in the rate of unemployment from 6.2% to 5.9%, an 18-month low. They marked the Australian dollar two cents higher, turning what had been an ordinary day into a special one. The Aussie saw net gains of three quarters of a US cent and one and a quarter cents against sterling.
Fairly Open Forum
The Bank of England's unprecedented "open discussion on the role of markets in society" included appearances by the governor, the chancellor of the exchequer and the president of the European Central Bank. None of them made any direct comment on monetary policy or exchange rates.
In the absence of their input, the FX market struggled for inspiration. The only data of any consequence were the UK employment statistics and, much later, the Australian jobs numbers. As a consequence, most of the major currencies remained almost stationary. Give or take a dozen or so ticks the US and Canadian dollars, the euro, the Swiss franc and the Japanese yen are unchanged on the day against one another.
For the NZ dollar it was a rerun of what happened last Tuesday: News putting a positive tilt on Australian interest rates served to remind investors of the negative slant on Kiwi rates. The NZ dollar suffered the day's biggest loss, dropping two cents.
The ECB president will be speaking this morning to the European parliament's Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON). After lunch no fewer than six Federal Reserve bosses will give speeches, as will the Bank of England's chief economist, Andy Haldane.
Alongside the juicy prospect of eight central bankers strutting their monetary stuff, the daily ecostat selection looks decidedly insipid. There are inflation data from Germany, Sweden and France, industrial production figures from the euro zone, new house prices from Canada and weekly jobless numbers from the States.
But never mind those. Investors will be far more interested in what the central bankers have to say. The folk from the Fed will probably stick to hinting at a December rate increase. Mr Haldane will probably say something startling. And Sig. Draghi will be pretty much obliged to open up about fresh quantitative easing.