US dollar back below 109, aussie underperforms

Sterling was 0.1 per cent weaker at $1.4433 early on Friday. The currency came under some volatility following the Bank of England’s announcement on Thursday to keep interest rates on hold. This was expected but the Bank warned on the negative economic consequences if the UK votes in favour of leaving the European Union at a June 23 referendum.

The dollar index, a measure of the US currency against a basket of global peers, was sitting flat at 94.184 on Friday, but has gained in seven of the previous nine sessions.

The dollar was little changed at 108.86 yen after gaining about 0.6 percent overnight.

The Australian dollar was one of the worst performing major currencies early on Friday, affected by softer commodity prices. Base metal prices declined as did iron ore futures. AUDUSD slid to $0.7285.

Gold was sitting 0.2 per cent stronger today at $1,266.80 an ounce.

Oil prices are now hovering close to their highest level in six months. They have rallied more than 70 per cent since hitting 12-year lows in January.

Brent crude, the international oil benchmark, was down 0.8 per cent at $47.68 a barrel today, while West Texas Intermediate, the US marker, was 1.2 per cent lower at $46.15. Both ended 1 per cent higher in a shaky Thursday session after the International Energy Agency said demand growth in the first three months of this year was stronger than expected, and risks to demand for the remainder of this year were to the upside.

Concerns this week about supply disruptions in Canada and Nigeria, as well as data showing a surprise drop in US weekly crude stockpiles have supported oil prices despite overall strength in the US dollar. Commodity prices often move inversely to the greenback.

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