The U.S. dollar soared back toward a recent nine-month peak against a basket of its major rivals overnight as moderating stocks and commodities revived the greenback's allure as a safe haven.Sterling tumbled by nearly 2.5% to a new 10-month trough against the U.S. dollar as mounting political uncertainty added to already elevated worries about a lackluster U.K. economic recovery and the possibility of additional credit easing from the Bank of England. A survey showing the results of an expected general election this year would be extremely close, highlighted the possibility of a hung Parliament, which would limit the government's ability to enact needed budget reforms to rein in the U.K.'s gaping deficits. The breach of key chart support compounded the pound's dramatic selloff, which pushed it to a three-month low against the euro and a new record low against the Canadian dollar. The euro, meanwhile, remains broadly undermined by uncertainty regarding the outlook for deeply indebted Greece. The ebb and flow of headlines regarding a possible EU bailout of Greece continue to dictate the single currency's direction. The Aussie remained generally underpinned overnight, despite signs of a slowdown in China's manufacturing sector and the general reduction in risk appetite overnight. Positive Australian data boosted expectations for another 25 basis point rate hike to 4% from the Reserve Bank at its Policy Board meeting tomorrow. U.S. personal spending and income as well as the ISM's manufacturing index will be closely watched this morning. USD: Personal income rose by only 0.1% (m/m) in January, well below the 0.4% (m/m) forecast. Personal spending however, rose by 0.5% (m/m) above the 0.4% (m/m) expected. The greenback was mostly unmoved near highs of the session following the news. Investors await U.S. ISM manufacturing data due out at 10 a.m. ET for further direction. GBP: The British pound tumbled by nearly 2.5% against the greenback to a new 10-month low. GBP/CAD slid to a new record low, while the pound fell to a new three-month trough against the euro. A survey overnight showed the incumbent Labour Party barely clinging to power in an expected general election later this year. A narrow outcome of the election, expected by early June, is expected to result in a hung Parliament, where no one party gains an outright majority. Such a scenario would severely limit the government's ability to enact difficult budget reforms needed to cut spending and rein in the U.K.'s gaping budget shortfall. The political uncertainty has added to an already disappointing outlook for the pound. The U.K.'s anemic economic recovery has kept the door to further policy easing from the BOE open. The Bank of England meets on Thursday and is not expected to adjust lending rates. Still, disappointing economic growth and inflation that dips back below target would raise the risk of additional asset purchases from the BOE and keep the pound under pressure across the board. Sterling was largely unmoved by data showing the manufacturing PMI was unchanged from a revised 56.6 in February.
EUR: The euro succumbed to renewed selling against the greenback and Canadian dollar overnight, broadly dogged by the uncertainty surrounding an EU bailout of Greece. Conflicting headlines out of the eurozone regarding German aid to indebted Greece have driven the single currency's direction. While the euro could draw near-term support from any new details on EU support for Greece, its longer-term upside should remain severely limited by the prospect for similar crises in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland. Data overnight showed a rise in eurozone manufacturing PMI to 54.2 in February from January's 52.4, exactly as expected, while the unemployment rate was unchanged at a revised 9.9%. AUD: The Australian dollar was generally supported overnight, despite news that showed China's key manufacturing sector slowed in February from 55.8 to 52.0. Because China is the primary destination for most of Australia's exports, any sign of a slowdown there tends to have a negative impact on the outlook for the broader economy in Australia. Domestic data showed a surge in new-home sales and improving manufacturing sector performance, data that reinforced the outlook for the RBA to raise lending rates by another 25 basis points to 4% when it meets tomorrow. CAD: Canada's economy grew by a very impressive 5.0% on an annualized basis in the fourth quarter, better than the 4.1% expected and a sizable improvement from the third quarter's revised 0.9%. It was the fastest pace of expansion since 2000. Strong domestic demand and improving exports helped fuel the boom in the fourth quarter, putting all of 2009's GDP at -2.6%. Wholesale prices rose by 0.3%(m/m) in January, cooler than the 0.5%(m/m) expected. The loonie rose to highs of the session on the solid GDP news.