Tag Archives: European Central Bank :

BoE & ECB

The Bank of England and the European Central Bank have both left their monetary policies unchanged today at 0.50% and 1.50% respectively as growth slows and the European debt crisis spreads to Italy and Spain.

The Pound is up against the Euro trading between 1.14 – 1.15 and in the region of 1.63 against the US Dollar. The Euro currently trades at 1.42 against the US Dollar.

The Pound has also appreciated against commodity currencies, passing 1.54 against the Australian Dollar and 1.58 against the Canadian Dollar.

The exchange rates mentioned in the above email are based on the current interbank rate. Please do not hesitate to contact the dealing team on +44 (0) 1695 581 669 for a live quote.

Interest Rates

Today (07/04/11) as expected the European Central Bank (ECB) has raised its benchmark interest rate by 0.25% to 1.25%, the first such increase since July 2008. The Bank of England has kept interest rates on hold for the 25th month at their historic low of 0.5% and the Bank’s Quantitative Easing Asset Purchase Programme remains at £200bn.

 The focus will now shift to the release of the minutes (due 20th April) of today’s BoE Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting to see if any further MPC members have been swayed to the rate hike camp. At the previous meeting in March, six members voted to keep rates on hold whilst three members voted for an increase in interest rates. The conflict between above target inflation coupled with weak economic growth making the Bank’s decision difficult. The market will also seek further clarity on the future direction of ECB interest rates as there had been some suggestions that the hike today may be the first of a gradual increase in ECB interest rates.

Typically, as a central bank increases interest rates their currency will appreciate as global investors seek a higher yielding currency. The widening interest rate differential between the BoE and ECB has been a major contributing factor to Sterling’s relative weakness against the Euro despite the ongoing European sovereign debt crisis.

Comparative World Interest Rates

Bank of Japan: 0.1%

Federal Reserve (USA): 0.25%

Swiss National Bank: 0.25%

Bank of England: 0.5%

Bank of Canada: 1%

European Central Bank: 1.25%

The Reserve Bank of Australia: 4.75%

People’s Bank of China: 6.06%

Brazil: 11.75%

Stronger than expected UK PMI Services data

Sterling has spiked higher today (05/04/11) following the release of stronger than expected Purchasing Manager Index (PMI) Services data. The PMI Services data is an indicator of the economic situation in the UK service sector. The reading of 57.1 was better than the expected reading of 52.5 and better than the previous reading of 52.6. A reading above 50 signals expansion, whilst a reading below 50 signals a contraction in the UK service sector.

This week sees a raft of economic data releases and announcements. Later today the minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee are released which should give an insight into future US monetary policy. On Thursday both the Bank of England (BoE) and the European Central Bank (ECB) are set to announce their latest interest rate decision. The BoE is expected to keep interest rates on hold at their current historic low of 0.5% whilst the ECB is widely expected to hike rates. It is the expectation of rate hikes from the ECB which has contributed to recent relative Euro strength despite the ongoing sovereign debt crisis facing the Eurozone.

The Pound is up on the interbank market against the Euro at 1.14 and up against the US Dollar at 1.62. Please note the rate you are able to achieve will depend on the amount of currency being purchased, please do not hesitate to contact the dealing team on +44 (0) 1695 581 669 for a live quote.

Better week for Sterling

This week has seen a number of better than expected pieces of UK economic data. The Purchasing Manager Index data released this week by Markit Economics has shown a better than expected expansion in the UK manufacturing, construction and service sectors. This data has eased concerns relating to the sustainability of the UK economic recovery and gives weight towards the prospect of an interest rate hike from the Bank of England later this year.

Elsewhere, the European Central Bank (ECB) continued to hold its interest rate at 1% and in the following press conference, ECB President Trichet was less hawkish than many analysts had expected, signalling that despite recent price rises he believed the current rate was appropriate. Any interest rate rise from the ECB in the near term now seems rather unlikely.

As a result the Pound has appreciated to 1.18 against the Euro and remains above 1.60 against the US Dollar.

The exchange rates mentioned in the above blog are based on the current interbank rate. The exchange rate you are able to achieve will depend on the amount of currency being purchased. Please do not hesitate to contact the dealing team on +44 (0) 1695 581 669 for a live quote.

Currency Update

Earlier today (07/04) the Pound hit its highest level against the Euro since the 24th February briefly touching interbank 1.1410 before settling in the mid-high 1.13s. The Pound is also trading above 1.51 against the US Dollar.

With the upcoming general election and the prospect of a hung parliament there is still much uncertainty about the future direction of the Pound. Many analysts continue to suggest that the Pound will likely fall back below 1.50. Whilst any GBPEUR trade above 1.12 has been proven to be good value if you look at the range over the past 6 months which has seen a range of 1.06- 1.16 on the interbank market.  In fact in only 2 of the last 6 months has the GBPEUR rate been higher than its current rate.

There is a raft of UK and EMU economic data due to be released tomorrow including both The Bank of England and European Central Bank meetings. Therefore, you may deem it appropriate to secure a rate.  

If you would like to discuss any upcoming foreign exchange requirements or the information contained in this blog in more detail, please do not hesitate to contact the dealing team.  

 

 

 

 

Currency Update – Sterling pressured

Sterling has started March under significant pressure. Monday morning saw a dramatic fall in the value of Sterling with the Pound falling as low as 1.0930 against the Euro and 1.4780 against the US Dollar. There are currently a number of factors contributing to Sterling’s sharp fall in value.

Firstly, the latest opinion polls are suggesting that following the UK general election, it is likely that we could see a hung parliament with no single party holding a workable majority. This political uncertainty has troubled investors as they are concerned that any new government may not be able to implement the measures needed to cut UK debt and revive the economy.

Secondly, the Bank of England has hinted recently that we could see further expansion of its asset purchase scheme known as quantitative easing (QE). Any increase in QE would likely depreciate Sterling further.

Finally, Prudential’s $35.5B bid for the Asian life insurance unit of AIG has caused large flows out of Sterling into the US Dollar.

Following Monday’s sharp falls, the pound has recovered some of its losses. This morning, the release of the latest Purchasing Manager Index (PMI) suggested that the UK service sector is recovering at a stronger rate than many analysts had expected. This has helped push Sterling back above the psychological level of 1.50 against the US Dollar and above1.10 against the Euro.

In the Eurozone, the Greek government has approved a fresh austerity package of tax rises and spending cuts worth €4.8B. This has gone a small way to help convince financial markets that Greece can pay off its massive debts. The Euro has risen against the US Dollar and currently trades above 1.36.

Elsewhere, The Reserve Bank of Australia has hiked their cash interest rate by 0.25% to 4%. The Bank of Canada left rates on hold at 0.25%. However, the Bank of Canada’s accompanying statement showed that the Bank was more upbeat on the economic outlook. This has forced Sterling to a low of 1.6491 against the Australian Dollar and 1.5387 against the Canadian Dollar.

Both the Bank of England and the European Central bank meet tomorrow at 12:00 and 12:45 respectively. The markets will eagerly await any announcement from the Bank of England regarding QE and the European Central Bank’s latest economic forecasts.

With all the uncertainty regarding the general election, the Bank of England’s QE programme and the UK’s ability to tackle the deficit, it is likely that Sterling will remain under pressure for some time.

If you have any upcoming foreign exchange requirements, please do not hesitate to contact the dealing team to discuss how best to manage your currency requirements and eliminate currency risk.

Currency Update

Sterling has continued its recent climb following yesterday’s comments from Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member Andrew Sentance, hinting that the Bank’s programme of Quantitative Easing may be put on hold.

Later today we eagerly await the European Central Bank interest rate decision at 12:45 and press conference at 13:30.

On the interbank market Cable (GBPUSD) has pushed through 1.6230 and currently trades at 1.6265, whilst the Pound is also trading above 1.12 against the Euro. EURUSD is currently trading just below 1.45 at 1.4493.

Currency Matters can offer a number of products and strategies which can help you manage your currency risk. Please contact the dealing team for more information.

 If you would like to discuss any upcoming foreign exchange requirements, please do not hesitate to contact the dealing team on 01695 581669.

 

 

Currency Update

Risk appetite has returned to the market today as the latest GDP figures from the US suggest that the US is out of recession. The US GDP figures released earlier today beat market expectations with an annualised rate of 3.5% vs 3.2% expected. Whilst these figures are positive it remains to be seen how sustainable these levels of growth are, especially after the massive government stimulus has finished working itself through the economy.

The following improvement in confidence has led to safe haven currencies such as the USD and JPY coming under downward pressure.

Sterling has advanced through Interbank GBPUSD 1.65 and through Interbank GBPEUR 1.1100.

Expect plenty of volatility as we enter November as sentiment remains fickle. Both the Bank of England and the European Central Bank meet on November 5th. Analysts will be especially keen to see if the Bank of England extends its Quantitative Easing program and if so by how much. Some economists suggest that we could see an extension by as much as £50B but the consensus seems to suggest an extension of £25B is the most likely outcome.

Currency Matters can offer a number of products and strategies which help you manage your currency risk. Please contact the dealing team for more information.