Tag Archives: monetary policy

Currency Matters

The Pound has fallen today 23/03 following the release of minutes from the Bank of England showing that no further Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) members shifted to the rate hike camp at the March meeting of the MPC. Despite the higher than expected inflation reading released yesterday, there is still some uncertainty surrounding how quickly the Bank will increase interest rates from their historic lows. On the interbank market the Pound trades below 1.15 against the Euro and at 1.62 against the US Dollar.

In the UK Budget, as expected chancellor George Osborne announced that the Office for Budget Responsibility cut its growth forecast for 2011 from 2.1% to 1.7%. For 2012 the forecast was also cut from 2.6% to 2.5% with growth expected at 2.9% throughout 2013-2014 and at 2.8% in 2015. The Office for Budget Responsibility also acknowledged inflation would remain significantly above the 2% target, remaining between 4-5% this year before dropping to 2.5% next year and back to target in two years.

Regarding government borrowing; the forecast for this year is £146 billion, £2.5bn lower than the previous target. Borrowing is also forecasted to fall in 2012 to £122bn, then £101bn in 2012/13, £70bn in 2013/14, £46bn in 2014/15 and £29bn in 2015/16.

In other budget headlines, the chancellor announced an increase in the personal tax allowance of a further £630 to £8,015. The chancellor also suggested that the 50% top rate tax should be seen as a temporary measure and that the treasury would review how much the 50% rate raises. For businesses the chancellor announced that corporation tax would be cut by 2% in April but that the bank levy would be adjusted so that banks would not benefit from the reduction in corporation tax. Fuel duty is also to be cut by 1p per litre from 18:00 today whilst there are no changes to alcohol duty and tobacco duty will increase at 2% above inflation.

In Europe, the Portuguese government will this afternoon put its austerity measures to a parliamentary vote. The largest opposition party have already announced that they will present a draft resolution rejecting the austerity measures. Should the government loose the vote, it is likely the Prime Minister will resign triggering the dissolution of parliament and possibly international financial rescue and an EU bailout. The Euro is already under some downward pressure against the US Dollar and currently trades at 1.41.

Please do not hesitate to contact the dealing team on +44 (0)1695 581669 for a live quote or to discuss any of your foreign currency requirements for the coming months.

UK GDP DISAPPOINTS

The Pound has reacted negatively this morning to the revised UK GDP figures. Many analysts were hopeful that the disappointing UK GDP data numbers released at the end of January would be revised higher. However, the new data showed that the UK economy contracted by -0.6% in the final quarter of 2010 compared to the previous estimate of -0.5%.

Despite recent signs that the Bank of England Monetary policy Committee were shifting towards a hike in interest rates the highly disappointing data may mean a rise in interest rates may not come as soon as previously thought.

Currently the Pound trades in the region of 1.60 against the US Dollar and at 1.16 against the Euro.

Bank of England

Sterling has appreciated modestly this morning following the release of February’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) minutes by the Bank of England showing that interest rates were kept on hold by a 6-3 vote.

Bank of England chief economist Spencer Dale joined Andrew Sentance and Martin Weale in backing a rise in interest rates. Dale and Weale both voted for a 0.25% rate hike whilst Sentance strengthened his call for an interest rate hike from the Bank by voting for a 0.50% rate hike.

The remaining six MPC members voted to keep rates on hold. All members of the MPC with the exception of Adam Posen voted to keep the Bank’s Quantitative Easing (QE) programme on hold, whilst Posen voted for a further expansion in QE of £50 billion.

Whilst the Bank of England is clearly divided, the case for increasing interest rates is strengthening. The expectation of future rate hikes should help underpin Sterling’s value.

Please do not hesitate to contact the dealing team on +44 (0) 1695 581 669 for a live quote.

Currency Update – UK GDP

Sterling has tumbled this morning following the release of UK GDP figures which were much worse than analysts had expected. The shock numbers showed that the UK economy shrank by 0.5% over the last 3 months of 2010.  The severe weather seen in December dramatically hit GDP, particularly in the construction and service sectors. However, according to The Office for National Statistics, even if the impact of the poor weather was excluded, economic activity would have been ‘flattish’.

The governor of the Bank of England is due to make a speech tonight, whilst the minutes from the previous Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting will be released tomorrow at 09:30. Recent calls by some economists and in particular MPC member Andrew Sentance to increase interest rates in the face of above target inflation will now be weakened.

Currently the Pound trades in the region of 1.57 against the US Dollar and at 1.15 against the Euro.

Given current market volatility, please do not hesitate to contact Currency Matters to discuss any foreign currency exchange requirement. Currency Matters can provide a number of products including Forward Contracts and Stop Loss/Limit Orders which can help you manage your foreign currency exchange risk.

The exchange rates mentioned in the above blog 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.

Currency Matters

 The US Dollar has continued to fall following Tuesday’s meeting of the Federal Reserve. At the meeting the Federal Reserve kept interest rates on hold at 0.00-0.25% and kept quantitative easing at current levels. However, the Federal Reserve opened the door to the possibility of additional quantitative easing indicating that it would be prepared to provide additional accommodation if needed to support a fragile economic recovery.

 On the interbank market GBPUSD currently trades above 1.56 whilst EURUSD trades at 1.33.

 In the UK, Sterling has come under some downward pressure following the release of recent disappointing economic data including poor retail sales and higher than expected government borrowing, which totalled £15.3 billion in August. The Bank of England Minutes released this week showed that the Monetary Policy Committee voted to keep both interest rates on hold at 0.5% and its Quantitative Easing Asset Purchase Scheme at £200 billion. The minutes made no clear indication that further Quantitative Easing (Q.E.) would be needed however many analysts interpreted that the chances of further Q.E. had increased since the previous meeting. The Bank of England remains torn between trying to support a fragile economic recovery, whilst trying to anchor inflation which remains stubbornly above the 2% target.

 As a result of the above, extreme volatility has been seen in the GBPEUR exchange rate, yesterday hitting its lowest level since May before recovering slightly today. The current GBPEUR interbank rate trades at 1.17.

 Given current market volatility, please do not hesitate to contact Currency Matters to discuss any foreign currency exchange requirement. Currency Matters can provide a number of products including Forward Contracts and Stop Loss/Limit Orders which can help you manage your foreign currency exchange risk. The exchange rates mentioned in the above blog 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.

Bank of England

The Bank of England has today kept UK interest rates on hold at 0.5% and the Bank’s current asset purchase scheme known as quantitative easing also remains on hold at £200 billion.

The Pound continues to look firm against the US Dollar trading above 1.58 on the interbank market and against the Euro the pound trades near 1.20.

The market will now await the European Central Bank announcement later today and on Friday the latest US employment data will be released.

Please do not hesitate to contact Currency Matters for a live quote. Please note the exchange rate you are able to achieve will depend on the amount being exchanged.

Currency Update – Post Election

After Sterling’s initial bounce higher following the formation of a Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition majority government the Pound has disappointed somewhat, particularly against the US Dollar which earlier slipped below 1.45. 

The sell off in Sterling started following the Bank of England’s Quarterly Inflation Report which implied that UK interest rates would remain very low for some time to come and are likely to rise only very modestly over the next two years. Furthermore, the Bank did not rule out the possibility of further Quantitative Easing. The combination of loose monetary policy and a tightening fiscal policy in the UK, suggests it is likely that the pound could be under pressure for some time.

Further falls for Sterling against the USD are now predicted by a number of analysts, with some pointing towards a break of 1.40. The ongoing debt crisis in the Eurozone is also expected to drag the Euro lower against the US Dollar; this will also be to the detriment of the Pound against the US Dollar.

Given the difficulties facing both the UK and the Eurozone, the outlook for the Pound against the Euro remains highly uncertain. However, given the significant structural problems of the Eurozone, I would suggest that the Pound will fair better against the Euro than against the other major currencies. GBPEUR currently trades at 1.16 on the interbank market.

Next week sees the release of several important pieces of economic data across the globe. In the UK we have the Consumer Price Index and Retail Price Index, Bank of England Minutes and Retail Sales. For a full economic calendar please visit: http://www.currencymatters.co.uk/market-data/economic-calendar/

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

Currency Update

The US Dollar has continued to appreciate following last night’s unexpected announcement by the Federal Reserve to increase its Discount Rate by 0.25% to 0.75%. The Discount Rate is the rate US banks are charged at to borrow emergency funding from the Federal Reserve. The Target Rate that banks usually borrow at remains on hold at 0-0.25%. The move whilst largely symbolic, confirms that the Fed is starting to realise its exit strategy towards a return to more ‘traditional’ monetary policy. However, it is expected that the Fed may not tighten official monetary policy until the autumn.  Nonetheless, the US Dollar has appreciated strongly, pushing GBPUSD below 1.54, whilst EURUSD trades around 1.35 on the interbank market.

In the UK, the Pound took a fresh blow following this morning’s disappointing retail sales and yesterday’s public sector net borrowing figures, which showed that the UK government had to borrow £4.3B in January, a month which usually posts a surplus. UK tax receipts dropped by 11.8% compared with January last year. 

The debate also continues regarding the suitable timing of any UK government spending cuts. In an open letter to the Financial Times more than 60 senior economists backed Chancellor Alistair Darling’s decision to delay any government spending cuts until 2011, fearing that any earlier cuts could force the UK back into recession. This was as a direct riposte to a letter sent last weekend to The Sunday Times by a group of 20 leading economists supporting the argument that more rapid action to tackle Britain’s deficit was needed and that fiscal tightening should start this year.