Sterling Slides as Brexit Tension Increases Ahead of Trade Talks

Last week, the US Dollar made its biggest gain for two and a half months following the sell-off in the stock markets, in particular the Nasdaq (which is tech-led). There was no significant trigger for the sell-off, but commentators have rationalized the long winning streak and potential fears of a second wave of COVID-19. In the meantime, economic data was closely watched from the US for several reasons, including growth momentum, the upcoming presidential election in November and COVID. The headline figure for the week was the US labour data which came out stronger than expected. The headline non-farm payrolls hit expectations of 1.37m, whilst unemployment moved lower and average earnings edged higher. These numbers are likely to help President Trump. Closer to home, tensions between the UK and the EU don’t seem to be easing. The Prime Minister's office is reported to only see a 30-40% chance of a post-Brexit trade deal being agreed with the EU before the end of 2020. Currently, at the time of writing, peer to peer betting exchange Smarkets have the odds of no-deal emerging between the UK and EU before the end of 2020 at circa 60%. Over the weekend further tensions have been cited as Chief Negotiator Frost warned that the EU stance may limit the progress that could be made in the talks which resume on Tuesday. In addition, there are reports of new UK legislation which would over-ride the withdrawal agreement of Northern Ireland which may increase tensions sharply.

2020-09-07T13:47:23+00:00September 7th, 2020|

GBPUSD Hits Fresh 8-week Highs as Market Awaits US Labour Data

Last week the focus was on the Jackson Hole symposium where Powell confirmed that the central bank would adjust the inflation target to an average of 2%. Powell went on to state that employment will be given greater importance in achieving goals. The central bank is now more confident that higher employment will not lead to higher inflation and the economy will be allowed potentially to run at a faster rate to boost long-term employment. The inevitable implication that interest rates will remain at very low levels for a longer period and potentially undermine the dollar. However, there was some positive news as Q2 GDP data was revised to a contraction of 31.7% from 32.9%, slightly stronger than forecast. Economic data was mixed as US durable goods orders increased but consumer confidence declined to a 6-year low. Closer to home Sterling started the week on the back foot as following downbeat Brexit comments from the previous week. However, GBPUSD rose to fresh highs following the FOMC Chair’s comments. Despite the stress to the UK economy the Pound continues to shrug off negative data. The CBI retail sales survey dipped to -6 for August. The CBI stated that sales are forecast to decline at a faster pace in September with a reading of -17 for the expectation’s component. In the meantime, labour-market trends will be an important focus with August employment cut at the fastest pace since February 2009 and companies expect the rate of job cuts to increase further

2020-09-01T15:50:18+00:00September 1st, 2020|

Sentiment Concerns Emerge Ahead of Packed US Calendar Including Virtual Jackson Hole

Last week we saw the US Dollar remain under pressure as economic data raised some question marks about its recovery. A leading indicator for employment, the weekly jobless claims, increased back above a million posting a figure of 1.1m, which was greater than the forecast of 930k. Compounding the recovery question marks was the Philly Fed Manufacturing data which was lower than expected as well as down from previous reports, suggesting that momentum is slowing. Keeping the Dollar under pressure was the sentiment in equity markets, with news from Pfizer that its Covid-19 vaccine was on course for regulatory review in October, has lent support. Sterling had a whipsaw week as both economic data and trade talk news drove the price. Sterling moved lower initially as speculation mounted that tensions between the UK and EU were raised during their trade talks. It was reported in the Financial Times that Brussels has rejected the UK’s opening demands for continued wide-ranging access to the EU for British truckers. During Friday’s press conference, Sterling once again came under pressure following comments from negotiators Michel Barnier and David Frost. The EU negotiator stated that he was "disappointed" and "concerned", whilst UK negotiator David Frost spoke of "little progress". Meanwhile, economic data continues to remain positive for the UK. Retail sales, services and manufacturing data all improved highlighting that the recovery’s momentum is continuing post easing restrictions. It will be interesting to see if the UK can continue this once the government’s schemes end - Furlough and Eat

2020-08-24T12:00:12+00:00August 24th, 2020|

Sterling Remains Supported as UK/EU Trade Negotiations Resume

Last week, we saw Sterling remain resilient despite underlying concerns over employment and being plunged into its deepest recession on record as the coronavirus lockdown saw the economy contract by more than a fifth in Q2. With the furlough scheme coming to an end in October there are obvious concerns. However, the monthly GDP for June, which may be seen as timelier, was higher than expected at 8.7% against 8.1% following the easing in lockdown measures. The market will be keen to see if the UK activity can sustain this momentum in the coming months. In the meantime, the UK confirmed that the next round of Brexit talks will take place in Brussels this week with negotiators. Plans include a dinner on Tuesday and a press conference on Friday, leaving only two full days of talks. This suggests that the potential for any breakthrough in negotiations remains limited. Nevertheless, UK chief negotiator Frost stated that a deal was achievable in September and Irish foreign minister Martin also stated that there was scope to find a landing zone in the negotiations. Elsewhere sentiment remained to the upside as broader economic data saw stocks and commodities climbing, a significant development as the Pound has shown itself to be a 'risk-on' currency. Eurozone industrial production rose strongly for the second straight month in June at 9.1% higher than in May; the largest rise since records began in 1991. In the US, the weekly jobless claims dropped below 1m; the first time since

2020-08-17T10:48:54+00:00August 17th, 2020|

August 2020 FX Forecast

Given the uncertainty right now, businesses need to have some idea of a consensus (mean forecast) and a potential worst-case (high or low forecast) scenario in terms of FX rate. We have collected the views of over 40 financial institutions to articulate the high, low and mean forecasts for the next 12 months in an attempt to provide this information to businesses. As you will see, the forecast still predicts a high degree of uncertainty based on the differential. Download the PDF report for the details: Infinity_FX Forecast August 2020 Infinity International would be happy to offer a complimentary FX review of your current process to offer a fresh perspective and to highlight any areas that could be made more efficient.  If you would like to organise a time for an exploratory conversation, please leave your details below. The review would encapsulate: Strategy ideation to align FX risk management with your business objectives FX volatility assessment to understand the impact of a significant FX rate Credit terms to ensure efficiency for cashflow when hedging currency (subject to approval) FX pricing to determine your current cost of your current provider vs Infinity International rate Fill out the below form to receive an obligation free FX review: Request a FREE FX Review We’re here to cut through the clutter and industry jargon to provide you with relevant information so you can build your understanding of foreign exchange markets.

2020-09-01T15:53:12+00:00August 12th, 2020|

UK Labour and GDP Numbers Set for Release, Both Set To Be Monitored Following BoE Dovish Tone

Last week the focus was on two events, the Bank of England (BoE) meeting and the US jobs data, whilst political tensions continued to rear their ugly head. There was an element of uncertainty ahead of last week’s BoE policy meeting, especially with uncertainty over the forward guidance within the statement. Also, there were some underlying fears over employment trends, especially with the number of employees on furlough still increasing, despite restrictions loosening. Unsurprisingly, therefore, no policy changes were forthcoming at the August meeting, with both Bank Rate and the size of the Asset Purchase Programme left unchanged – at 0.10% and £745bn respectively. However, the Committee continued to signal that the door remained firmly open to further stimulus being deployed, noting a commitment to take further action if, and as, required. This may be down to how the employment numbers look when the furlough scheme ends in October; as well as the nett effect on growth due to due to the measures and social behaviours regarding COVID. In the meantime, in the US, the focus was on the monthly job’s numbers, as well as other key data points hitting the market. Despite the rise in COVID-19 States, there was some encouraging data from the nation. The ISM manufacturing and non-manufacturing both surpassed expectations and continued to grow. The monthly US non-farm payrolls market report had been eagerly awaited as the first important indication of how a recent surge in infections that has sparked a second round of business

2020-08-10T15:35:12+00:00August 10th, 2020|

Can Congress and US data stem the Dollar bleeding this week?

Last week the US Dollar continued to soften as economic data and politics failed to provide a boost. In terms of economic data, US initial jobless claims increased for a second consecutive week possibly a sign that economic growth may be cooling or faltering. Meanwhile, US second-quarter GDP contracted at an annualised rate of 32.9% after a 5.0% decline for the first quarter. This was the sharpest quarterly contraction on record by a substantial margin albeit expected given the crisis. With a unanimous vote, the Fed maintained the Fed Funds rate, in the 0.00-0.25% range, in line with consensus forecasts. Chair Powell stated that the evidence suggests that the pace of economic recovery had slowed since June and the pandemic is a disinflationary shock. He added that there is clearly a risk of a slowdown in the rate of growth and the labour market has a long way to go to recover. US politicians continue to debate whether to approve a fourth fiscal stimulus package as urged by Fed Chair Powell last week. The problem is that Congress is supposed to go into recess on Friday and some of the existing measures have expired. Sterling is on the front foot as data and comments boost the economy. UK mortgage approvals increased sharply to 40,000 for June from 9,300 the previous month. Further evidence from the Nationwide house price index show prices increased by 1.7% following the stamp duty tax cut. Also, the CBI retail sales report surged in July

2020-08-04T14:06:33+00:00August 3rd, 2020|

FOMC Meeting and US and EZ GDP Set for Release

Last week, the Euro pushed to the highest level seen against the US dollar since 2018 following the agreement between the EU 27 member states on how the Recovery Fund will operate. Leaders of 27 European Union countries reached a unanimous agreement on 750 billion euros ($860 billion) in coronavirus recovery funds, divided into grants worth 390 billion euros and low-interest loans worth 360 billion euros. It was the breakdown that took time to agree. It was vital that this was passed as the funds will be raised by the EU Commission using its AAA rating while there will be changes to EU rebates. The AAA rating means they will be able to borrow cheaper as a collective rather than individual countries; for example, Greece’s S&P rating is BB-, this is 9 notches lower than AAA. As a result, EURUSD has pushed circa 4.5% higher from the low of the month. In the meantime, sterling benefited against the US dollar as a result of the move on EURUSD but subsequently moved lower against the single currency. GBPUSD is now trading at its highest level since March against the US dollar despite ongoing uncertainty about the progress in talks between the EU and the UK on their future relationship. Economic data also helped pushed the currency higher as retail sales, service and manufacturing data all improved. The US dollar was on the back foot as concerns about deteriorating relations with China and that the US economic rebound is faltering prompted

2020-07-27T16:45:30+00:00July 27th, 2020|

Big Week of Economic Data Whilst Brexit and COVID-19 Concerns Remain

Last week was a mixed week for sentiment, with many eyes on the downside due to concern of an increase in COVID-19 cases in the US - new cases growing to north of 60k a day with Florida reporting in excess of 15k a day. In recent weeks, economic data from the US has been to the upside, but as a result of the recent surge Federal Reserve policymakers have warned that activity may be “leveling off” and that more fiscal support may be necessary. In the meantime, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak’s Summer Economic Update outlined the second phase of job retention measures. This has come in a three-step plan focusing on jobs, including a Job Retention Bonus to keep furloughed employees in work, a Kickstart Scheme for 16-24-year olds and targeted measures for hospitality and housing. Brexit newswires have been mixed and are likely to remain as such for the foreseeable future. It is difficult to say when exactly talks will conclude, given they had ended earlier than scheduled in the past two weeks; is this a good or bad sign? There were reports that the EU could be willing to compromise on the issue of fishing rights. Cabinet Minister Michael Gove said on Sunday progress was being made in talks but there were still divisions. Gove went on to say, “at the end of this year we are leaving the single market and Customs Union regardless of the type of agreement we reach with

2020-07-13T14:56:02+00:00July 13th, 2020|

Economic Outlook Q3 2020

Will the Reopening Signal Growth or Signpost Another Lockdown? The end of Q1 and beginning of Q2 saw the global economy in a position that it had not previously seen as lockdown hit the Western economies. Our Quarterly Report provides context on the UK, US and Eurozone markets of last quarter and highlights what we believe will be the focus of each of these regions over the coming months. In this report we will focus on the action central banks and governments have taken and the resulting effect on volatility. In this paper we will highlight some of the key factors that could drive GBP, EUR and USD exchange rates over the coming months as well as displaying institutional forecasts on GBPUSD, GBPEUR and EURUSD. Covid-19 may have started as a health crisis, but it quickly switched into an economic and social one. The US lost more than 20 million jobs in a two-month period. Growth forecasts globally were slashed by double figures as the world is facing a situation which it has not seen in modern times. In the second half of the quarter, we started to see green shoots emerge as lockdown restrictions eased across the globe. What does Q3 hold? Finally, we will provide some analytic data from two sources. The first is a survey of 200+ treasury departments which highlights their focus and their views of the lockdown duration. In the second, we will display the currency forecast taken from Reuters at the start of

2020-07-10T15:52:18+00:00July 10th, 2020|