And the winner is…

More buyers than sellers
Eric Metzler has found a new type of moth. But wait, it gets better… Mr Metzler is selling its naming rights in on Ebay - item number 281812249261 - for the benefit of a US national parks charity. What better Christmas present for a loved one (other than sterling)?

Anyone who pre-ordered pounds yesterday would be feeling quietly smug this morning. For the first day in six weeks sterling was the top-performing major currency, strengthening by an average of 0.6%, equivalent to the three quarters of a cent by which it rose against the euro. Its biggest gain was of 1.7% against the hero-to-zero South African rand and it went up by a third of a US cent, two thirds of a Swiss cent and two thirds of a Japanese yen.

Whilst the achievement of sterling is clear, the reasons for it are less so.  The move began before London started its week yet there were no UK statistics to catalyse buyers and no freshly-positive economic news. The buying has been attributed variously to optimism about the Chinese president's visit and expectations for the Bank of England governor's speech in Oxford on Wednesday evening. Neither sounds convincing: it was probably just a case of more buyers than sellers.

Lacking Lacker
Having been potentially the most important event of the day, a scheduled appearance by Richmond Federal Reserve President Jeffrey Lacker was cancelled because of his indisposition. The US dollar therefore missed out on what could reasonably have been expected to be a supportive speech.

Mr Lacker is the Fed's most renowned hawk, being the only one of the Federal Open Market Committee to vote in favour of a rate increase last month. Whist his comments would probably not have brought anything new to the table they would at least have kept alive hope of a Fed rate increase this year.

The main event on Monday turned out to be the Canadian general election. Initially it looked as though the ruling Conservative party would be replaced by a hung parliament. Eventually it became clear that the Liberal party had regained power after a decade in opposition. Investors did not particularly like the look of either of those and the Canadian dollar drifted lower throughout the day, eventually losing more than two cents to sterling.

Rate expectations
The ecostat agenda today is not a whole lot busier than Monday's. For sterling the theoretical highlight is Mark Carney's appearance before parliament's Treasury Committee. However, Ian McCafferty's speech this morning might steal his thunder.

Mr McCafferty is the Monetary Policy Committee's equivalent to Jeffery Lacker, being the lone wolf in favour of a rate increase. Also like Mr Lacker, any hawkish comments today would come as no surprise but could be supportive of the pound.

Three Federal Reserve chiefs will also be speaking this afternoon, including the chairperson herself. Otherwise, all investors can look forward to are US housing starts and building permits