Interest Rates and effect on Exchange Rates

Thursday 4th August 2011
Good morning. Services sector data yesterday gave Sterling a boost against the US Dollar and Euro, but gains were limited as concerns remain about the fragility of the UK economic recovery, particularly after data earlier this week showed manufacturing activity contracting. Today we have the BoE and ECB interest rate decisions. At 08:30am this morning rates are as follows:

• GBP/EUR 1.1450
• GBP/USD 1.6361
• GBP/AUD 1.5330
• GBP/NZD 1.9196
• GBP/CAD 1.5797
• GBP/ZAR 11.070
• GBP/JPY 130.31
• GBP/DKK 8.5289
• GBP/NOK 8.7929
• EUR/USD 1.4285

Swiss Cut Interest Rates

Yesterday the Swiss National Bank unexpectedly cut interest rates to stem a sharp appreciation in its currency, causing several currencies such as the Euro to spike higher. With the problems in the US, the Swiss France is a safe-haven currency and had become very strong, so they had to intervene. This caused GBP/CHF rates to rise from 1.24 to 1.2730.

UK Interest Rates today

Generally disappointing UK data has added to the view that UK interest rates will remain at a record low for a prolonged period, while some have suggested more quantitative easing (QE) may be needed to revive sluggish growth rates. Today at lunchtime the BoE will announce their decision, but it’s widely expected rates will again be left on hold. If however they announce any further QE, we could see the Pound fall. This is unlikely however.

Investors have steadily priced out the chances of a rate hike and are not expecting an increase in 2012, whereas late last month they expected a rate rise in November 2012. This is keeping Sterling weak compared to other zones with higher rates.

EU Interest Rates

The ECB also announce their decision, and we expect rates to be left on hold. They have already raised rates twite this year, and there may be further hikes which may strengthen the Euro slightly, making it more expensive to purchase.

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