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The last day of 2008 is here. Markets are becoming thinner and thinner, as New Years celebrations get closer.

Yesterday’s big news was the  CB Consumer Confidence in the US, which is at a record low number of 38. Not only is it under 50 – which means contraction, it’s also well under the market’s expectations which were at 45.2.  Also the Chicago PMI was low, at 34.1.

As we’ve seen recently, signs of economic weakness in the US are constantly lower than expectations. And don’t worry – those expectations are very modest.  

EUR/USD is currently at 1.4095, USD/JPY is at 90.27, USD/CHF at 1.0553, and GBP/USD at 1.4465. Most majors haven’t made moves. Only the British pound continues to weaken. EUR/GBP still not at parity, but is “looking over the shoulder”.  

Today’s major economic data from America is the Unemployment Claims. It’s expected to be at  575K, a little bit better than last week’s figure: 586K.  

Other than that,  Crude Oil Inventories will be published. They are expected to drop by 1.4 million barrels bue to the recent fall in oil prices around the world. But the ongoing Gaza war that has sparked higher oil prices could impact this figure.

In Australia, the monthly  Private Sector Credit rose only 0.4%, slightly lower than was expected. Despite this figure Australia continues to be one of the better off economies in the West. AUD/USD is at 0.6925.

Just before the New Year celebrations begin in Europe, the ECB’s Jean Claude Trichet will speak. The Euro, which is looking for a direction, might be impacted by his speech, though the markets will be effectively closed at this time.

Happy New Year!

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