In today’s report I’m going to take a look at what caused the Pound to fall, and what the events in the EU may mean for rates going forward.
Sterling/Euro highs were not to last
Sterling hit its best rates against the Euro in 6 weeks recently after the Bank of England left interest rates and the size of its bond-buying programme unchanged, as outlined in my last post. The decision had been broadly expected by most analysts after a great run of UK data.
However the gains were not to last, firstly due to a dire report from the Bank of England this morning, and fears over what effect the deepening EU crisis will have on the Pound. Let’s take a look at what the Bank of England governor said and what effect it had on Sterling.
Pound falls after BoE Inflation report
This morning, Sir Mervyn King gave the latest Bank of England inflation report, and during this he has downgraded the growth forecast and warned the economy will be below pre-financial crisis levels for the next three years as it continues its recent “zig-zag” pattern. The comments did not bode well for Sterling.
Often when Mervyn gives a speech he talks the Pound down, and today was no exception. He said that the Pound/Dollar rate had gained by 8% and the Pound/Euro rate by 12% in recent times, and that these gains were unsustainable. I think he is worried what effect the strong Pound will have on exports, and so purposefully caused some weakness to try and drive the economy.
In the report he said that the Bank of England expects GDP growth of just 1% in 2013, and also said that inflation would to fall back towards the Government’s target of 2% in the latter part of next year.
“There seems a greater risk that the UK economy may be in a period of persistent low growth,” Sir Mervyn said. He added that the outlook for inflation was the main reason why the policymakers decided to stop the purchases of gilts – or quantitative easing – in November. There is a real chance more QE could be on the cards however in December or early next year, so those that need to buy Euros should seriously consider their position now.
EU fears could also affect Pound/Euro rates
Little sign of a recovery in the euro zone any time soon is likely to weigh on the single currency against sterling. Weakness across the board would normally cause GBP/EUR rates to rise, however there are real concerns about whether the UK’s economic recovery can be sustained, given a deepening recession in the euro zone which is one of our key trading partner.
If the EU economy continues to struggle, then it’s going to affect the Pound and this could keep rates in check.
The Greek economy is doing very poorly. It shrank 7.2% in the third quarter compared with the same period a year earlier, and has now been in recession since late 2008. They’ve had 2 bailouts from the EU and IMF, and there will probably be more to come.
Eurozone finance ministers will meet next week to discuss releasing the latest 31.5bn euros as they seek agreement on how to make Greece’s debt sustainable going into the next decade. In the shadow of all of this, workers across the European Union are staging a series of protests and strikes against rising unemployment and austerity measures. General strikes in Spain and Portugal have halted transport, businesses and schools, and led to clashes between police and protesters in Madrid. Smaller strikes were reported in Greece, Italy and Belgium, and rallies were planned in other countries.
Many clients are convinced that the problems in EU will drive rates back towards the 4 years highs of €1.28 we saw in the summer. I don’t agree with this. These were the highest rates for years, and despite much better expected UK data we have failed to get back to them.
Rates have fallen further this week due to fears over the UK economy, so if I needed to buy Euros I would give serious consideration over what to do now. We are still trading comfortably above the 1.20 level, and this time last year rates were as low as 1.13. Holding out for more gains could easily mean you lose out.
A wise strategy in this climate would be to place a Stop Loss order. This is where you can instruct me to purchase your currency should it drop below a pre agreed level. For example, 1.22. You can then take a bit of a gamble on rates recovering, but have a safety net in place should rates fall. This is a good way to approach the current market, as it means you don’t lose out on all the recent gains and can still trade at a reasonable level.
If you’re looking for the best exchange rates, or just want to have a chat about the options open to you, then send me a free enquiry by clicking below. There is no cost or obligation involved, and you could be very surprised on how much you can save through the commercial rates I can source for my clients.
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