The Australian dollar didnít have to do anything wrong to find itself on the rough end of a very rough stick last week. It fell by 8% against sterling and the yen, and by more than 12% against the safe-haven Swiss franc. In a week.

Two things worked against all the commodity-oriented dollars (the story is the same for the NZ and Canadian currencies); Euroland's debt crisis deepened as southern Europe was forced to pay more for its borrowings, and America's debt crisis remained unresolved by a deeply cynical cross-party compromise on reducing the US deficit.

Taken together, they point to a global economic slowdown and they have provoked a global flight to quality. Everybody wants the Swiss franc and nobody wants equities or global-growth-related currencies. Investors are so twitchy that sentiment could change in an instant, but itís not obvious where to expect that change.