Summer doldrums ahead

Unexpected currency in the bragging area
Tesco is updating its DIY checkouts. Instead of being irritated by a patronising woman's voice, customers patient enough to use the facility will henceforth be irritated by a condescending bloke thanking them for shopping at Tesco. Perhaps he could also thank them for buying Swedish krona yesterday.

After two days at the back of the pack the krona shot into the lead on Thursday. Well, "shot" is a bit of an exaggeration: it strengthened by 0.2% against sterling, the equivalent of quarter of a Swiss cent. The franc did nearly as well, but neither of them could detract from the pound's recovery since Monday. Having begun the week among the also-rans it heads into the weekend with an average gain of 0.9% against the other dozen most actively-traded currencies.

At the back of the fleet the NZ dollar continued along its erratic track: on Monday and Tuesday it led the field, on Wednesday and Thursday it came away with the wooden spoon. The stumbling block this time was ANZ's measure of business confidence, which came in at its lowest level for four years. South Africa's rand did just as badly, though for no specific reason. Both currencies fell by 1% against sterling.

Not much else
There was a distinct lack of inspiration among investors yesterday. With the exception of the Kiwi and the rand there was no more than 0.5% separation between the major currencies. Any hopes that the American GDP data might energise the US dollar turned to dust.

The US economy expanded by a provisional annualised 2.3% in the second quarter. It was less than the forecast 2.5% but the shortfall was offset by an upward revision to the Q1 figure from -0.2% to 0.6%.  The data were enough to keep the dollar steady against the pound and to allow it to hold onto its leading position in July.

The yen was also just about unchanged on the day despite this morning's announcement that the Japanese consumer price index went up by only 0.4% in the year to June. It was a far cry from the 2% that the Japanese authorities have spent so much time and effort trying to achieve but it came as no surprise and the yen hardly budged.

Euro zone inflation
On the last day of the week and the month the ecostat agenda is far from packed. The two sets of data which could affect exchange rates are for Euroland inflation and Canadian economic "growth". And of those, only the Canadian GDP figure is really in with a shout.

Although Canada releases its gross domestic product data month-by-month and well in arrears (today's relate to May) they have recently begin to affect the Loonie. Analysts believe there was zero growth in May. Disappointment is easy to imagine.

Euroland inflation is pencilled in at a provisional 0.2%. It would need a significantly different number to move the euro. Have a good weekend.