The Aussie was the top performer among the commodity currencies, all of which were held back by lower prices for their output. It lost more than one and a half US cents, though it strengthened by half a cent against the pound, which struggled at the back of the pack after leading it the previous week. Economic data from Australia tended to be supportive: manufacturers reported growing activity and the economy as a whole expanded by a punchy 1.1% in the fourth quarter after stumbling in Q3. Only a narrower trade surplus spoiled the picture.

The ecostats from Britain were no more than ordinary but it was not the economic data that spoiled things for sterling, it was the frequent changes in sentiment towards the pound that ruined its game. In the last ten days sterling led the field on five of them and dropped to the back on four. Investors evidently have no idea what to do with the pound.