The Australian dollar and the British pound occupied opposite ends of the currency spectrum. Sterling led the field for a second week while the Aussie languished at the back, losing a third of a US cent and falling by three and a half cents - 2.1% - against the pound. Inflation data released by Statistics Australia and the Reserve Bank of Australia came in below forecast: headline CPI went up by 1.5% in the year to December while the RBA's trimmed mean was 1.5%. The figures cost the Aussie an almost immediate cent.

Sterling, meanwhile, dodged a bullet from weak UK retail sales figures and felt the benefit of stronger-than-expected 0.6% provisional growth in the fourth quarter. Its biggest advantages were the Supreme Court's ruling that parliament must approve the initiation of the EU departure process and the government's commitment to producing a white paper on the matter. Investors welcomed the increased transparency.