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. The Loonie has suffered less than the rand and the Kiwi, aided by its close association with the Greenback, but is still down by a cent and a half on the week against the US dollar. 

Sterling, meanwhile, has been held back by the evaporating hope of higher UK interest rates and uncertainty about the looming referendum on Britain's continued EU membership. That has limited its progress against the Canadian dollar to one and a half cents.