Slow start

No interest
The Scottish government is paying a teacher £15k to live in Glasgow for a year. Ellie Harrison will not have to do anything other than give up her job in Dundee and stay in Glasgow. Billed as "performance art" it will attract about as much attention as Monday's FX market.

It could have been an exciting day: The Shanghai stock market had closed limit down and investors had run to take cover in the Japanese yen. European equity markets were under pressure. The diplomatic set-to between Saudi Arabia and Iran looked set to derail the stuttering peace negotiations in Syria. It appeared as though the stage was set for a good old panic.

And then, suddenly, nothing happened. Well, to be more accurate there was some activity but net movements over the 24-hour period were modest with just 1% separating the leader from the laggard. For no particular reason the South African rand took first place. The Swedish krona's relegation to the back of the fleet was easier to understand.

Riksbank to intervene
Sweden's krona started the day in good order, helped by what turned out to be the world's strongest manufacturing sector purchasing managers' index. It lost ground later when it emerged that the central bank had added direct intervention to its anti-deflation tool bag.

The Riksbank is troubled by low 0.1% inflation and a krona that it perceives to be aggravating the problem by its overvaluation. The central bank has already done the usual bond-buying and rate-cutting stuff - its benchmark interest rate is -0.35% - yet in the last five months of 2015 the krona strengthened by 5.5% on a trade-weighted basis. So the Riksbank is preparing to hold down its currency by selling it, as the Swiss National Bank does.

Among the top-division currencies the euro and the franc did worst, falling by -0.5%, roughly two thirds of a cent in both cases. The pound, the yen and the Canadian dollar were separated by only a dozen or so ticks and the antipodean dollars both gave up half a cent. Investors did not make as much as they might have done out of the manufacturing PMIs, which showed Euroland performing more strongly than Britain and North America.

€Z inflation
Top of the bill on today's agenda is the provisional euro zone inflation data. There are fewer than a handful of important ecostats on the list and the unimportant ones are really unimportant.

German unemployment this morning is expected to come in unchanged on the month at 6.3%. Britain's construction sector PMI is pencilled in at a fairy healthy 56.0. Canada's industrial product price index should be flat on the month with the raw materials price index down by -2.5%.

Analysts expect Euroland inflation to have doubled to 0.4% in December with the core rate (ignoring food and energy) at or close to 1%. The euro would probably feel obliged to react if the figures were to come in markedly different from that.