Pound Sterling - UK Markets

Sterling exchange rates have recovered ground this morning, as positive UK retail sales figures have led the pound to reverse its losses yesterday following the MPC minutes. This morning the pound has strengthened to 1.65 against the US dollar and 1.16 against the euro.

UK retail sales rose 1.2% in June, on track for a 2.9% increase this year. B&Q, Next and Morrisons have all reported rising sales and healthy forecasts as the summer heat wave boosted spending. While these figures tend to support the view of recovery in the UK economy, retail sales are a volatile statistic GDP estimates due on Friday could provide a better indication. The CBI has reported that 250,000 jobs may be lost in the manufacturing sector as factory orders fell to new lows in July. There is no further data in the UK today with a GDP estimate out tomorrow.

US Dollar - US Markets

US dollar exchange rates have dipped this morning as markets digest Bernanke's speech and recover a little appetite for risk. The greenback has gained 0.76% against the yen and weakened against the pound and euro, currently trading at 0.6047 and 0.7025.

US markets had a relatively quiet day yesterday with the S&P finishing marginally down despite gains in European equities. The US dollar continued to be supported by risk trading as corporate earnings at Morgan Stanley came in worse than expected, sending the dollar higher against its international currency partners. Home sales and jobless claims are out in the US today and this will likely affect the US dollar exchange rate and risk appetite in the market.

Euro - European Markets

European exchange rates are holding firm this morning, trading at 1.42 against the US dollar and 0.86 against the pound. The euro has sunk against the Australian and New Zealand dollars as investors are prepared to take on limited risk.

The European current account deficit has narrowed to EUR1.2 billion in May, its smallest level in over one year. This is much less than the market expectation of a EUR5.8 billion deficit. Second quarter profits at Credit Suisse, Switzerland's largest bank, have risen 29% as profits from trading and investments rose. The news sent shares in the bank 3.8% higher and has supported the euro this morning. Today is light for euro data with the PMI for manufacturing and services due tomorrow.

Other Currencies - Highlights

The New Zealand dollar inched closer to a nine-month high against the US dollar yesterday as rises in Asian stock markets boosted New Zealand dollar exchange rates. The Australian dollar also rose to a one-month high against the greenback, gaining to 81.89 US cents.

The Brazilian central bank has lowered interest rates by 0.5% to 8.75%, a new record low in the hope of stimulating the Brazilian economy. Domestic demand is still driving growth in Brazilian, with 4% expansion expected this year. Inflation is currently running near government targets of 4.5%, leading economists to speculate that interest rates could stay on hold at this level for sometime.