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USD / CAD - Canadian dollar starts new year defensively.

- USD/CAD at highest level since December 22 close.

- EUR/USD suffers from soft manufacturing PMI data.

- US dollar starting new year with a bit of a bid.

USDCAD: open 1.3273-77, overnight range 1.3229-92, close (Dec 22) 1.3267, WTI $73.47, Gold, $2075.99

The Canadian dollar began 2024 exactly where it opened on December 22, following a choppy post-Christmas range. USDCAD is posting new session highs in early NY trading due to a wave of broad US dollar demand thanks to increased tensions in the Middle East.

Iran is taunting the US and the west by sending a warship into the Red Sea after the US Navy destroyed three Houthi boats that attacked a container ship. Iran supports the Houthi rebels and traders fear the conflict spark more widespread hostilities.

Russia has stepped up its bombing campaign of civilians in Ukraine and unleased massive drone and missile attacks on New Years eve.

Even so, the rising tensions are not giving oil prices much support. West Texas Intermediate traded in a $71.67-$73.58 range overnight but it is below its post-Christmas peak of $76.02/b.

EURUSD has churned between 1.0979 and 1.1142 since December 22, and reached its lowest point today, following a bleak Manufacturing PMI report from the Euro area. This report highlighted that at the end of 2023, the Eurozone manufacturing sector continued to contract, for the seventh month in a row.

GBPUSD bounced about in a 1.2663-1.2828 range between December 22 and today with the low seen following another poor UK Manufacturing PMI report which showed December PMI at 46.2 compared to the consensus and November reading of 46.4.

USDJPY has been trading within a 141.03-142.85 bracket since December 22 and is now at 141.69 in New York. The defensive trading stance is a result of some analysts' predictions that the Bank of Japan may tighten monetary policy soon. However, the decline has tempered as the decrease in the US Treasury yield has run out of steam, for the time being.

AUDUSD has hovered in a 0.6772-0.6872 range since closing on December 22 and is around the midpoint of that range in early New York trading. The positive market sentiment is fueled by an 8.1% rise in Australian house prices in 2023 and predictions of a record-breaking performance for Australia's ASX 200 index in 2024.

Today, there are no significant economic reports from the United States or Canada