UK/EU Trade Talks Drive Sterling Whilst US Presidential Elections Remain in Focus

Last week we saw UK/EU trade talks continue with Sterling nudging higher as hope for a deal continues to grow as the time to complete discussions extends and erodes. EU Chief Negotiator Barnier stated that a deal was unlikely by the October 15-16th Summit and instead the meeting will be used as a stock checking exercise to understand the state of play. There were also reports that Barnier had been instructed to keep a hard-line position on fishing, however, UK Chief Negotiator Frost hinted that fishing measures could be phased in – a big change in tone to what has been stated previously. Ongoing signs of progress helped keep Sterling elevated. While Bank of England Governor Bailey stated that the economic recovery had been very uneven across the country and that risks are very much to the downside. He commented that he strongly hoped that there would be a Brexit deal, but the post-transition period would not be easy. He also commented that we must use policy aggressively and actively with the bank by no means out of firepower. In Europe, market data was quiet but, not without some rhetoric from the central bank. The Euro was hampered by fresh speculation that ECB President Lagarde would signal that the central bank would move towards further monetary easing, including the possibility that interest rates would be pushed deeper into negative territory. ECB President Lagarde reiterated that the bank does not target the exchange rate but is paying close attention to

2020-10-20T09:20:30+00:00October 12th, 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|

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|

The “Risk On” Run Comes to an End Giving Strength to the US Dollar

Last week we saw a “risk off” mood following the increase in risk assets in recent weeks amid concerns of a second wave of Covid-19 infections, especially with reports of rises in cases in the US. Compounding the “risk off” mood was the decision taken by the Fed to keep rates at the zero lower bound and maintained asset purchases under QE “at least at the current pace”; whilst leaving the door ajar for further expansion. There was some speculation that QE would be expanded further. The latest median forecasts from individual committee members indicated that the interest rate was expected to remain at zero until the end of 2022 (only 2 members indicated rates higher in 2022). Closer to home, UK Prime Minister Johnson and EU Commission President von der Leyen have agreed to intensify trade negotiations with a further meeting due this week, and a transition extension is likely to be ruled out formally. UK April GDP shrank by 20.4% - the largest monthly contraction on record as the UK spent its first full month in lockdown. However, market reaction was tepid as markets have acclimatised to negative backwards looking data. Meanwhile, economic data from the Eurozone added to the negative sentiment as Eurozone April industrial production dropped by 17.1% following an 11.9% decline in March. Italian industrial production declined 19.1% for April following a 28.4% for the previous month with a shocking 42.5% annual slide. The data reinforced concerns over the Italian outlook and wider Euro-zone

2020-06-22T15:07:12+00:00June 15th, 2020|