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Markets shift to risk aversion

Published:  27 March, 2012

Sterling had a mixed day yesterday, strengthening and weakening against a variety of currencies as the markets shifted from risk appetite to risk aversion.

Currency rates - March 27

EURO/GBP - 1.1953
US$/GBP - 1.5951
CHF/GBP - 1.4421
CAN$/GBP - 1.5809
AUS$/GBP - 1.5170
ZAR/GBP - 12.112
JPY/GBP - 132.26
HKD/GBP - 12.3886
NZD/GBP - 1.9402
SEK/GBP - 10.643
AED/GBP - 5.8618
US$/EURO - 1.3340
INR/GBP - 81.16

Sterling was particularly strong against the Japanese yen and the US dollar, strengthening by 1.5c against the latter reaching the highest price in more than three months. There is very little data out of the UK today except the release of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) index on the relative level of current sales volumes.

The euro had a mixed day ending fairly flat against the majority of currencies; but, strengthening to a one month high against the US dollar. The index representing the business climate in Germany hit an eight month high yesterday boosting confidence in the region. Furthermore, the ECB President said that he saw signs of economic stabilisation and that the outlook of the Eurozone had improved. The Eurozone will look towards more German data released today as consumer climate figures will give further indication to the state of the region's largest economy. Despite the ECB Presidents positive words, the Eurozone appears to be extremely fragile.

The US dollar had an extremely poor day yesterday following the remarks from the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank. The Chairman suggested that the US economy would need to grow faster if the labour market would continue to grow which created a major dollar sell off. Further negativity came as figures released showed that the change in the number of homes under contract to be sold unexpectedly dropped by 0.5%. The main data released today is the Conference Board (CB) index representing consumer confidence.

Elsewhere, the commodity backed currencies had a turbulent day as the risk appetite shifted to risk aversion; but, the majority of currencies ended up against the weak US dollar and Japanese yen. The Japanese yen lost a lot of ground yesterday as its fiscal year is coming to an end this week.