For no very good reason the Australian dollar was just about unchanged on the week against the US dollar and the Japanese yen. The three had nothing in common, least of all interest rates: Australia's 2% benchmark is the highest among major currencies, Japan's is negative and America's might rise slightly this year. It was that latter prospect that helped the Greenback on its way after a series of Federal Reserve officials voiced their opinions ahead of a big Fed conference this weekend.

The yen continued to defy gravity in the face of a strong possibility that the Bank of Japan will step up its money-printing programme in response to persistent deflation. The Aussie just toddled along, untroubled by economic data or central bank comments. Sterling beat them all as investors cut back further on short positions following stronger than expected UK economic data. Overall the Aussie lost a cent to the pound.