Although the Australian dollar did make headway against the pound last week, it was only to the tune of a single cent. Having taken it to an all-time high in mid-February, investors have become less gung-ho in their buying – perhaps in recognition that the Aussie has strengthened by 68% against the pound since Northern Rock tipped sterling off its perch in September 2007.
Last week's Australian economic data were not universally helpful either. The 0.3% monthly rise in retail sales and 0.2% increase in private sector credit were reasonable enough, but elsewhere the news was not so bright. New home sales experienced another monthly fall in January, this time of -7.3%. The AiG performance of manufacturing (purchasing managers') index was down from 51.6 to 51.3, signalling slower growth in the sector.
The Reserve Bank of Australia, on Tuesday, have left interest rates unchanged at 4.25%.