A gain last week of 1.9 percent marked the Australian dollar’s best weekly performance versus the US dollar since December. The Aussie rebound continued with a touch of the $0.73 handle on Friday. Australia’s currency had been worth less than $0.71 just 10 days earlier. It settled for the week at $0.7285.
Further to gains against the US dollar, the Aussie, like everything else, had a windfall on Friday against the British pound, which slumped after the UK’s proposed terms for Brexit were comprehensively rejected by European leaders. The Australian dollar now buys £0.557.
Doing best against the pound on Friday was the euro—that had its best day versus sterling since November and ended the week buying £0.898.
With Brexit at the forefront, the euro continues to struggle against other European G10 currencies. While the euro-Swiss franc rate stabilized, albeit near one-year lows, the euro lost value in all five days of last week versus the Swedish krona, against which it now buys only Kr10.316—a six-week low.
With risk appetite returning, the US dollar and yen declined last week. Against a basket of currencies, the greenback has lost value in five of the past six weeks. Dollar-yen now trades at ¥112.55.
The New Zealand dollar, like its Australian cousin, is in recovery mode. At $0.668, it’s now 2.7 percent higher than the $0.65 print from September 12th, which was a nineteen-month low at the time.
In Asia, the Thai baht settled on Friday at a rate of ฿32.45 to the dollar, marking a fifteen-week high. One narrative that never seems to go away is the weakness of the Philippine peso which, at ₱54.12 to the dollar, approaches a thirteen-year low.
In the Americas, a NAFTA deal, or variation thereof, is still up in the air. The Mexican peso was little changed last week at Mex$18.81; meanwhile, the Canadian dollar tested, but failed to break, August’s low of C$1.2887.
Prominent events on next week’s economic calendar include Wednesday’s FOMC meeting, at which US interest rates are widely expected to be raised to 2.25 percent; ANZ’s measure of New Zealand’s business confidence, also on Wednesday; Thursday’s meeting of the RBNZ, which is unlikely to offer much in the way of new information; and Friday’s “flash” estimate for eurozone inflation.
Currency rates were extremely volatile last week as the coronavirus situation worsened day by day with various countries implementing ever-tougher measures to stop the spread of the disease.
Last update: 23 Mar, 2020
This week the US Dollar was touching three-year highs when valued against a basket of major currencies. The greenback’s traditional role as one of the safe-haven currencies is helped by a domestic economy that is largely immune to the threats of the coronavirus.
Last update: 22 Feb, 2020
The strong start to the year for “risk-on” currencies is already a distant memory.
Posted: 3 Feb, 2020