Happy holidays

Thanksgiving: Once upon a time, the day when Americans acknowledged the indigenous people who gave them food and, later, their country. In recent years, the day when Americans gorge on turkey to fortify themselves for the shopping season. Today, the day when sterling celebrates an unexpected recovery.

The pound's achievements over the last week do not look too clever: it is down by an average of -1.0% against the other dozen most actively-traded currencies and has lost ground to every single one of them. However, over the last 24 hours sterling has done much to repair the damage it suffered over the previous 24, strengthening by 0.4%. 

Its recovery owes a lot to the British finance minister's Autumn Statement, delivered yesterday at lunchtime. In it, the chancellor toned down his "austerity" rhetoric and played up the more optimistic growth outlook of the Office for Budget Responsibility, which identified an additional £27bn of tax revenues. 

Investors were generous in their appreciation of George Osborne's budget, taking the pound two thirds of a euro cent higher and setting it above everything except the NZ dollar, against which it was unchanged. They were almost as charitable to the US dollar, which was only a fifth of a cent behind.

Appetite for the dollar was fed by US economic data which investors saw, on balance, as positive. The numbers were not all good: A 0.4% monthly increase in personal incomes was not reflected in the disappointing 0.1% rise in personal spending and the finalised 91.3 for the University of Michigan's index of consumer sentiment was nearly two points shy of the provisional figure.

Those shortfalls were more than offset by a strong (provisional) 56.5 services sector purchasing managers' index, fewer than expected initial jobless claims and a punchy 3.0% monthly increase in durable goods orders. Excluding transportation items (trains and boats and planes) the 0.5% increase was also ahead of forecast.

The United States will be taking the day off today, so there will be no North American ecostats and little to inspire investors beyond midday. But that will mean only relative hardship for them because even this morning's European data offer little promise of stimulus.

What were probably the most important numbers have already come and gone. New Zealand reported a wider-than-expected trade deficit in October, with exports and imports both coming in below forecast, but the data did not upset the Kiwi. Conversely, the Australian dollar - today's alternative turkey - was very much upset by news of a -9.2% quarterly fall in private capital expenditure. The figure cost the Aussie an instant cent and it is down by a cent and a quarter on the day.

Still to come are Spanish gross domestic product, Swiss industrial production, Sweden's balance of trade, Euroland money supply, South African producer prices and German consumer confidence. Japan's inflation and unemployment numbers come out tonight, along with consumer confidence numbers from New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Can't wait.