Brexit UK-EU Trade Talks: How will sterling be affected?

  History and understanding During the Brexit negotiations in 2017, the UK & EU agreed that trade negotiation could only start after the UK's withdrawal because such negotiations could not happen when the UK still had a veto capability in the EU. For this and other reasons, a transition period after Brexit day (31 January 2020) was defined to allow those negotiations.  The transition period started on the 1st of February 2020 under the withdrawal agreement.   The deadline is the 31st December 2020, a deadline which can be extended for two years, although the British government has declared that it will not apply for any such extension. In 2018 the UK conducted 49% of its trade with the EU, 40% with the Rest of World and 11% with countries that have EU trade agreements.   Figure 1: UK % of Total Trade 2018 Source: Department for International Trade / BBC https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-47213842   Potential scenarios There are various types of deal frameworks available in these negotiations, with the UK said to favour a Canada style arrangement called the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). CETA provisionally came into force between the EU and Canada in 2017, this is a free-trade agreement removing 98% of the pre-existing tariffs between the two areas. A CETA agreement between the UK and EU would aim to get rid of most, but not all, tariffs between the UK and the EU, this does not cover anything in services, particularly financial services, which is key to negotiations

2020-09-17T15:22:25+00:00September 17th, 2020|

Will Political Developments Boost Sterling This Week?

Last week Sterling fell to multi-month lows against both the US Dollar and the Euro as Brexit negotiations soured following the wording of the proposed UK Internal Market Bill being released. If passed this will breach the Withdrawal Agreement and break international law. As a result, we saw tensions between the UK and EU intensify. The EU commission stated that the emergency meeting of the UK-EU joint committee had not cleared EU concerns over the Internal Market Bill. It rejected the UK contention that it would protect the Northern Ireland peace agreement and called for measures to be withdrawn by the end of September at the latest, and legal action has been threatened. There was confirmation that the talks would continue this week which provided an element of relief. Meanwhile, the big market event of the week was the ECB meeting. In the week prior, there was concern and speculation over the current strength of the single currency, prompting the currency to weaken in the period leading up to the meeting. The ECB made no changes to interest rates at the policy meeting and there were also no changes to the quantitative easing programme with bond purchases continuing under the PEPP scheme. The forward guidance was unchanged with bond purchases set to continue until at least June 2021 and interest rates remaining extremely low. The economic assessment was slightly more optimistic from ECB President Lagarde. She noted that the deflation risks had declined slightly since June despite the very

2020-09-15T11:51:42+00:00September 14th, 2020|

September 2020 FX Forecast

“I don’t make predictions. I know what I can do, and I try not to think too far ahead.” - Bradley Wiggins Since the delayed Tour De France is taking place we thought it would be appropriate to quote Britain’s first Yellow Jersey winner; 2012, what a great year that was. Fast forward to today, not such a great year, the global economy is still recovering and markets are still split on the direction of this and as a result the residual impact on currency markets. Unlike Sir Bradley, financial institutions are constantly making predictions. 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 forecasts still predict a high degree of uncertainty based on the differential. Download the PDF report for the details: September FX Forecast 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

2020-09-08T16:40:15+00:00September 8th, 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|

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|

Are You Prepared for Brexit Volatility?

We cannot predict the markets, but we can help you navigate them Sterling’s volatility is compounded by three factors, global COVID-19 sentiment, Brexit trade talks and BoE policy. It is worth noting that in the 4 years since the EU referendum we have seen Sterling trade in a large range (circa 36 cents against the US Dollar and 26 cents against the Euro). With the fallout of COVID-19 still unknown, the impacts could be felt harder by some businesses. We have compiled FX forecasts using data taken from over 40 financial institutions in an effort to predict the high, low and mean rates for the next 6 months: covering the phase of negotiations between the UK and EU and the impact of COVID-19. As can be seen, there are large differentials between the high and lows which highlight the potential volatility that could happen during this period as we ride ebbs and flows of progress and setbacks in the forthcoming talks. Download the PDF report for the details: Infinity_FX July Forecasts Are you managing the risk of your FX exposure? 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

2020-08-12T10:15:53+00:00July 24th, 2020|

EU Summit Continues Ahead of Service and Manufacturing Data from the UK and Eurozone

Last week Sterling was treading water as it continues to deliberate what COVID-19 and Brexit means for the longer-term prospects of the nation. Last week’s reading monthly GDP highlighted this uncertainty. The monthly GDP saw a 1.8% monthly rise in May, well below expectations of 5.5%. In the meantime, UK employment data whilst better than expected, received a tepid response as several companies continue to announce job losses and there is concern that this figure could rise in August as the governments contribution to furlough payments drops with the employer making up the difference. US economic data continues to remain positive. Last week, US retail sales, industrial production and Philadelphia manufacturing data all reported better than expected readings. However, the tone remains cautious as new COVID-19 cases hit a record high in the US of excess of 75,000. The market remains cautious about what this could mean for the US economy. Whilst economic data remains positive, it is backward looking, and the market will keep an eye on COVID-19 and what impact it could have on future data. The focus of the week was on the EU economic summit with the market glued to developments surround the recovery fund. The meeting has extended beyond the weekend and will continue today. The EU recovery fund would be borrowed via instruments on the financial markets, to be paid back sometime after 2027. Leaders are at odds over how to carve up a vast recovery fund designed to help haul Europe out

2020-07-27T16:34:54+00:00July 20th, 2020|