Movements in Sterling have been relatively restrained this week, with little economic data having been released attention is being focussed on GDP figures due out in the UK and the US at the end of the week. Market expectations are for a 0.1% increase in UK GDP when the figures are released tomorrow morning, however with potential increments being so fine, the margin for error is miniscule. Whatever the result, the effect on the UK economy is likely to be just as miniscule in the short term, however the opposite couldn’t be more true for the UK coalition government and their religious adherence to “Plan A”.
Should the figures tomorrow show that the UK has slipped into recession for the third time in as many years, the subsequent pressure heaped upon George Osborne could be enough to bring the Chancellor to tears for the second time in as many weeks. Furthermore, weak GDP figures would add emphasis to Christine Lagarde’s comments last week that Mr Osborne should consider rethinking the government’s austerity strategy. The comments last week were a surprising contradiction of the IMF’s long standing support for the UK’s deficit reduction strategy, however perhaps after over two years of trying and little signs of improvement in the economy, even the IMF are now beginning to think that a change of plan may be necessary for the UK government.
With very little economic data due out today, attention has turned to Germany this morning where business environment surveys have been released. The German IFO Business Climate and IFO Current Assessment figures showed falls in April to 104.4 and 107.2 respectively. The euro weakened following the immediate release of this data as the figures were substantially below market expectations. GBP/EUR rose to a daily high of 1.1763 before falling back to 1.1739, whilst EUR/USD recovered to 1.2994 after having dropped off to 1.2954 immediately after the IFO data release. Little activity is expected in the markets this afternoon until US Durable Goods figures are released which could stoke some movement, however volatility is likely to be restricted as market participants await the key GDP data from the UK tomorrow and the US on Friday.
Please find a summary of this week’s economic calendar below:
09:30 UK GDP
13:30 US Initial Jobless Claims
23:45 New Zealand Trade Balance
00:30 Japanese Consumer Price Index
04:00 Japanese Interest Rate Decision
13:30 US GDP
13:30 US Personal Consumption Expenditures Prices
14:55 US Reuters/Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index