As much by accident as by design, the Australian dollar and the pound covered a range of less than two cents. Sterling opened in London this Tuesday morning fractionally ahead on the week. Looking back over the eight days it is hard not to conclude that the Aussie was lucky to have done so well.
Australian purchasing managers' index readings for the manufacturing and services sectors both came in below the line at 50 which separates growth from contraction. Manufacturing got a 49.5; services a 47.0. Building permits were down by -7.8% in February alone and by -15.2% on the year. Retail sales rose by a disappointing 0.2%.
The Aussie's main stumbling block was the Reserve Bank of Australia, which left its Cash Rate benchmark at unchanged 4.25%. Although investors had not been expecting any change they were discouraged by the tone of the RBA statement, which hinted at lower rates in the future.