Austrian police are baffled by the €100k in €100 and €500 notes that has been found floating down the Danube. It can't be the missing FIFA cash because the Limmat empties into the Rhine. But it could be a demonstration by Saudi Arabia to OPEC of how little it cares about money.
The fallout from Friday's OPEC meeting in Vienna, at which members comprehensively failed to come to any agreement on limiting supply, rattled financial markets on Monday. Commodities and, of course, energy, were hardest-hit with oil matching the six-year low it touched in August. The price of iron ore reached its lowest level in eight years. The commodity-oriented currencies, which in recent weeks have shown some resilience to low commodity prices, suffered.
Monday's biggest loser was the Australian dollar. It fell by -1.1% against sterling and by -1.4% against the US dollar. The Aussie's position was worsened this morning by news that imports by China, Australia's biggest export customer, fell by -8.7% in November, marking a thirteenth month of decline. The day's second-biggest loss went to the Norwegian krone, on account of its exposure to oil, while the Canadian and NZ dollars got off relatively lightly, losing just -0.5%.
Safe havens up
The US dollar, the euro and the Swiss franc all picked up half a cent from sterling, equivalent to a 0.4% gain. Slightly ahead of them the Japanese yen strengthened by one yen. The pound took fifth place, adding an average of 0.2% against the other dozen most actively-traded currencies.
The yen received a boost overnight from the second revision to third quarter growth in Japan. Gross domestic product turned out to have expanded by 0.3% in the quarter; more than the 0.0% predicted by analysts and even better than the slight shrinkage that some investors had feared. Half of the yen's gains came after those figures had been released.
There was not much else among Monday's data to affect currency values. Nor did central bankers have any bearing on the proceedings. The Federal Reserve's James Bullard was as hawkish as usual but doesn't have a vote at the moment. Mark Carney spoke of housing bubbles and financial stability but not specifically about UK interest rates or the pound.
The important numbers this morning are for UK manufacturing and industrial production and third quarter growth in the euro zone. Sterling gets another look after lunch when the NIESR reveals its estimate of UK growth in the three months to November.
Euroland GDP is reckoned to have expanded by 0.3% in Q3. The number would have to be markedly different to affect investors' expectations for European Central Bank monetary policy. UK output is a different matter. Analysts say manufacturing and industrial production were both flat in October but their forecasts can often be wide of the mark.
Canadian housing starts and building permits come out this afternoon and the Bank of Canada will address the Empire Club of Canada.