SIGNIFICANTLY worse-than-expected public sector borrowing levels from the UK have somewhat eclipsed the marginal undershoot in German consumer confidence. As a result, the common currency is pushing higher against the pound. But for as long as the ratings agencies remain supportive of British efforts at fiscal reform then there’s a good argument to suggest sterling still has the upper hand in the longer term. The current IG Index price on euro-sterling is £0.8491-£0.8493.

The rating agencies certainly aren’t getting into the festive spirit with threats of a further downgrade for Portugal. Markets may have taken this in their stride so far, but it does heighten the risk that the common currency could be poised for another run lower early in the new year. One big beneficiary however seems to have been the Swiss franc. Euro-Swiss franc is now trading at fresh all-time lows as a result. The current IG Index price for euro-Swiss franc is SFr1.2620-SFr1.2624.

The US dollar has generally been in a downtrend for around six months against the South African rand. This is mainly due to continually increasing precious metals prices and commodity exports. Gold and platinum make up a fifth of South Africa’s exports and there looks to be little stopping this bull-run from continuing. Capital Spreads is quoting R6.815-R6.830 for dollar-rand.

It is amazing to think that a pound used to get you Au$3 a few years back, but Australia has proven very robust throughout the world slowdown. There are fears that Australia is going to slow down soon, however. This could lead to a weaker Aussie. But inflation is rising in the UK and we could see a hike in rates sooner than people expect. Spreadex offers a spot price on sterling-Australian dollar at Au$1.5500-Au$1.5515.

The Aussie dollar is just below parity with the greenback; the Aussie looks set to make another attempt at its all time high of around $1.0180. Capital Spreads quotes $0.9975-$0.9977 for Australian dollar-US dollar.