The Australian dollar took second place in last week's league table behind the NZ dollar. Its achievement came about despite some very murky economic statistics. They were few and they were unpleasant. The Conference Board's leading index which compiles yesterday's data to predict the future fell from -0.1% to an even more pessimistic -0.8%. New home sales fell by -8.0% in July and building permits were down by -15% on the year.

The Aussie's salvation was a more relaxed mood among investors. They were no longer scared out of their skins so were more inclined to buy the currency of a commodity-exporting country; one, moreover, that can still offer a 4.75% benchmark rate of interest. However, as they have since May, they still seem to prefer the NZ dollar.