Financial markets have not enjoyed an auspicious start to the new year. A sell-off in the Shanghai stock market unnerved investors, as did the Chinese authorities' clumsy efforts to support equity prices and an 11-year low for oil. 

The result has been a flight to quality, with investors seeking refuge in the safe-haven currencies, including the euro and the US dollar, and offloading those related to energy and commodities. Helped by better-than-expected employment data the Australian dollar managed to dodge that bullet and it has outperformed its peers, strengthening by one and a half NZ cents. It is still down by a cent against the US dollar though.

Sterling, meanwhile, has been held back by evaporating hopes of higher UK interest rates and uncertainty about the looming referendum on Britain's continued EU membership. That has kept it unchanged on the week against the Aussie.