Pound Sterling - UK Markets

The sterling currency rate weakened against the euro on Friday, closing the day at 1.14. In early trading this morning, the pound has risen to 1.15 against the euro and 1.64 against the US dollar. This is the highest level in 2009 for sterling, fuelled by the improvement in global confidence.

Sterling currency rates have climbed across the board this morning, with the pound reaching some of the best currency rates in 2009 against its major currency partners. This positive sentiment is based on the view that decline in the UK economy may be nearing a bottom. The UK PMI for manufacturing released this morning shows an improvement to 45.4, climbing from 43.1 towards 50 which indicates a positive result. The Bank of England's MPC will meet later this week for an interest rate decision. With rates currently at a record low of 0.5%, no change is expected and any further activity is expected to be based on quantitative easing.

US Dollar - US Markets

The dollar has declined against most of its international currency partners this morning, trading over 1.3% lower against the pound and 0.6% lower against the euro. US currency rates have also sunk over 1.4% against the Australian and New Zealand dollars.

Currency trends for the US dollar are bearish at present and are expected to remain so over the coming month. Weakness in the auto sector is weighing on dollar sentiment and levels of QE in the US are keeping investors uncertain. General Motors, once a symbol of American consumerism and the world's biggest company, is to declare bankruptcy later in the day. GM is one of the most high profile casualties of the credit crunch and is expected to undergo a short "surgical" bankruptcy with a new "leaner" company to be launched in 60 days. Personal income and consumption figures are due in the US today and these often provide a degree of market volatility as they are closely related to retail sales and consumer confidence.

Euro - European Markets

The euro has also benefitted from a rise in risk appetite internationally, gaining over 0.5% on the dollar to trade at some of the best currency rates this year. The euro is currently valued at 1.42 against the greenback, 0.86 against the pound and 134 against the yen.

After touching on the best currency rates in 2009 against the US dollar on Friday, the euro has continued to gain this morning on the back of improved risk appetite. This is despite the bankruptcy of General Motors which is expected to cost up to 20,000 European jobs. The PMI for manufacturing in both Germany and the eurozone have continued to climb this month, showing a modest improvement in the European manufacturing sector. The EMU unemployment rate is released tomorrow.

Other Currencies - Highlights 

The Australian dollar has surged against the pound and US dollar overnight as improved risk appetite and commodity prices support currency rates for the higher yielding currencies. Numbers of new building permits and the RBA interest rate decision for June are due overnight and this could induce some currency volatility for the Aussie dollar.

The Canadian dollar has also gained overnight on the back of more positive market sentiment, climbing nearly one percent on the US currency. Figures released in China overnight indicated a modest expansion in manufacturing activity and this has boosted market sentiment in North America. Canadian GDP figures and industrial product prices are due this afternoon.