The nine-day week was not a busy one, with many market participants taking advantage of two bank holidays to maximise their annual leave. Those left behind to staff the desk found little to excite them among the handful of Australian economic statistics. New home sales slumped by -5.3% in February, correcting the previous month's 6% spike. Lending to the private sector grew a respectable 6.6% annual rate. Manufacturers reported the best trading conditions in nearly six years, though it still did not amount to growth; just slower shrinkage.
The commodity currencies all received help from the Federal Reserve chairperson when she played down expectations for higher US interest rates this year. Her comments helped the Aussie to a weekly gain of one and a half US cents and it added two thirds of a cent against sterling. For the year to date it is 5% higher against the US dollar and 8% higher against sterling.