Among the world’s ten most actively traded currencies, it was the Chinese yuan that was leading the pack approaching the end of the Asian business week.
Aussie dollar (AUD) was down last week, retreating from US0.80 cents, on Australia’s disappointing rise in private sector wages, their massive contraction in construction activity and rising anticipation of an imminent US Fed interest rate hike.
Canadian dollar (CAD) extended its losses last week, supported by Canada’s extremely poor retail sales reading for December (-0.8%) however this trend reversed Friday when Canadian inflation came in stronger than expected in January as signs point to price pressures continuing to slowly build.
Chinese yuan (CNY) was up 0.2% last week, despite the lunar new year celebration non-trading days,and analysts believe that China, which carefully manages the yuan, is allowing its currency to rise in order to avoid being labelled a currency manipulator. The yuan has now gained nearly 10% over the dollar since the beginning of 2017.
Euro (EUR) was down over 1% last week on a disappointing, but expected, drop in consumer prices. It seems that the European Central Bank (ECB) extremely cautious tone in minutes is now very much justified.
Pound (GBP) exchange rates posted a mixed performance early on Friday as markets reacted to some weaker-than-expected UK retail sales figures.
Kiwi dollar (NZD) was down after failing to capitalise on a rather upbeat New Zealand retail sales result Friday.
US dollar (USD) traded sideways but the overwhelming positon amongst the markets seems to be one of optimism, with the higher-than-expected US inflation and wage growth readings liable to push the bank closer towards tighter monetary policy.
Last week was a tough week for most crypto currencies with heavy losses across the board, getting worse over the weekend. Bitcoin is down around 7% since the end of last week and has sunk below the symbolic $US10K mark (again).
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