The Aussie came close to being the week's top performer, losing out only narrowly to the Japanese yen. It strengthened by one and a quarter US cents and went up by more than three cents against sterling. Two big breaks accounted for the majority of its success. The first was when the US Federal Reserve left monetary policy unchanged and issued a statement giving the impression that it would need a clearer picture of the new president's policies before increasing interest rates again. The second was strong balance of trade data that showed a record surplus for Australia in December.

Sterling found itself at the bottom of the heap after the Bank of England governor poured cold water on the prospect of a rate increase. The US dollar was not far ahead of it as a result of investor disquiet over the new president's stream of executive orders.