Monday 12th November 2012
Good morning everyone. As usual for a Monday, today I'm going to take stock of last weeks movement in exchange rates, look at why GBP/EUR rates have climbed. In addition I will analyse what may happen in the coming weeks to affect the rate, and of course as usual give you a detailed breakdown of economic data releases that I think will affect exchange rates this week.
In this week’s Report:
Sterling vs. Euro;
- Pound/Euro rates hit 5 week high
- Eurozone growth forecasts could affect UK
- Round up of the week’s other data that may affect rates
Pound/Euro rates had a very good run indeed last week, with Sterling hitting a 5 week high against the Euro. In this report we will look at the reasons rates have increased, and look at what the coming weeks and months may hold for the Sterling/Euro cross.
First things first; Why have Pound/Euro rates gone up?
The main reason for the gains was the fact the Bank of England left interest rates on hold, and the size of its Quantitative Easing bond-buying programme unchanged. The decision had been broadly expected after recent strong UK third quarter growth figures, however some investors had positioned themselves for more QE, so when this didn’t happen the Pound gained strength as a result, pushing GBP/EUR rates up.
Only a few weeks ago, everybody convinced further QE was pretty much a given, and that it would happen the first week in November. In the last few weeks however, we have seen very robust UK data, including the fact the UK came out of recession recently, growing 1% between July and September.
However, a succession of poor economic indicators and corporate results has led many observers to believe that the economy is still weak, leading to speculation that more QE would be needed, just not right now. Indeed, the minutes from the last MPC meeting in October showed that some members thought more QE would be required at some point in the future.
All in all, for the moment the UK’s economic position looks relatively healthy, and this is the main reason for the strong Pound at present.
Pound/Euro rates also being driven by events in Europe
The European Central Bank (ECB) also decided to keep rates on hold at 0.75%, with President Mario Draghi saying a euro zone recovery is likely to be slow and gradual but solid. Explaining the decision, he said that economic activity in the euro area was "expected to remain weak".
The weak data coming out of the Eurozone is another reason for the gains in the GBP/EUR rate. As the Euro weakens it becomes cheaper to purchase, pushing rates up. This was compounded on Thursday when data showed German exports fell in September at the fastest pace in nearly a year, raising concerns about the effects of the euro zone crisis on Europe's largest economy.
The European Commission has also cut its 2013 growth forecast from 1% to just 0.1% and said it expected unemployment to continue rising next year. This is stoking fears that the Eurozone crisis is far from over, and has caused further weakness in the Euro.
So if the Euro weakens GBP/EUR rates will continue to rise?
Not necessarily. It’s extremely important to remember that around half of Britain's trade is with Europe. If the revised growth forecasts are accurate then this could have a significant effect for the UK in terms of our exports. While the UK is enjoying growth and a strong pound, weakness in the Eurozone could easily cause investors to also shun the Pound, and this is what is keeping GBP/EUR rates in check. Indeed on Friday rates stopped climbing and started to drop back away, indicating we had already hit the peak on Thursday afternoon.
Regardless of whether you need to buy or sell Euros, there is so much going on in the currency markets that rates could move either way in the coming weeks. In the last few weeks alone rates have fluctuated by over 2.5%, meaning a €250,000.00 purchase has differed in price by over £5000.00 in just a few weeks, clearly showing how quickly things can change and the impact it can have on your currency requirement.
If you need the best exchange rates, the first step is to contact us to have a free consultation. We can then let you know the options available to you, making sure you are not caught out by adverse exchange rate movements, and ensure you make the most of your currency.
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Weekly Economic Data that may affect exchange rates
Monday – We’re fairly light on data releases today as it’s a market holiday in America and France. We do have some German Whole sale prices in addition to the Eurogrup meeting, which is attended by Finance Ministers of each Member State of the euro area. There are no UK releases of note.
Tuesday – UK data today comprises of House prices, Retail Sales, and a raft of the latest inflation numbers. We also have inflation numbers from France, Germany and Europe. Also in the EU we will see the latest Economic Sentiment surveys. In the USA we have a monthly budget statement and a Business Optimism survey.
Wednesday – Various UK releases today including Average Earnings, Unemployment, Jobless Claims, a BoE Inflation report and a Speech by Mervyn King. Expect volatility in the value of Sterling today. In Europe we have French Inflation, Spanish Unemployment & GDP, in addition to EU wide Industrial Production. Stateside we have Retail Sales, Inflation data, and the latest minutes from the FOMC.
Thursday – Another important day for GBP/EUR. Starting in the Eurozone, we have GDP numbers from Spain, Germany, Italy and France. We also see EU wide inflation numbers. In the UK the only release today are the latest Retail Sales numbers, which are a good barometer of overall economic activity. Over in the USA we have inflation numbers, Jobless Claims, Manufacturing numbers, and speech’s by various members of the Federal Reserve.
Friday – We end the week on a quieter note, with nothing released from the UK. There are global Trade Balance numbers from Europe however that could still affect Pound/Euro prices. Industrial Production numbers from the states round off the week.
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Labels: Bank of England, Eurozone growth, Pound/Euro Forecast 2012, Quantitative Easing, Weekly Market Data