Although the Australian dollar put in a slightly above-average performance, beating the Canadian dollar by three quarters of a cent and the Japanese yen by a street, it lost three quarters of a US cent and fell by two and three quarter cents against sterling. The Australian economic data did the Aussie no favours. New home sales, retail sales and the manufacturing sector purchasing managers' index all came in below forecast: only building permits delivered a surprise on the upside.

Meanwhile the US dollar was helped by comments from Federal Reserve officials which kept alive the possibility of a rate increase this year. Sterling pushed ahead as speculators bought back more of their short positions. The Aussie's performance in the week ahead will have a lot to do with the tone of Tuesday's Reserve Bank of Australia statement. The more likely an interest rate cut appears, the less likely the Aussie is to prosper.