An average week for the Australian dollar took it half a cent higher against sterling and left it unchanged against the US dollar. The Australian economic data were not a great deal of help. Business confidence improved in April but building permits fell by -13.4% in March, leaving them -19.9% lower on the year. Investors also punished the Aussie for a -0.1% fall in March retail sales, even though the switch of Easter from March to April has had an identical impact around the world.
Treasurer Scott Morrison's budget, which he presented on Tuesday, had minimal effect on the currency though it did encourage two of the big three credit ratings agencies to confirm Australia's triple-A status. Sterling was looking comfortable until Thursday. It was hit by disappointing manufacturing and industrial production figures and by the fact that only one member of the Monetary Policy Committee voted to increase Bank Rate.