Thursday 16th July 2015
The Euro remains incredibly weak today, with GBP/EUR rates settled around the €1.43 mark, a fresh 8 year high. In today’s post I’ll look at the developments over the last few days, what happens next with Greece, why the Euro remains weak, and what might happen to exchange rates in the coming weeks. First, let’s look at how exchange rates have moved so far this week:
ECB agree €7bn loan to Greece
Last night as expected, Greek MPs passed through the reforms that were part of the recent EU bailout deal. As a result, today the European Central Bank (ECB) agreed to provide a €7bn loan to Greece to help it until an actual bailout is approved. The ECB also said it would give more emergency funding to Greece, which could help the banks to open in the coming weeks after being closed all month so far.
Why is the Euro still weak?
Many thought once an agreement had been made that the Euro would strengthen and exchange rates would drop back away, however the single currency remains very weak indeed. I’ve seen €1.4350 on the markets today however at the time of writing, GBP/EUR sits around the €1.43 mark.
The reason the Euro is still weak, is that when you pick apart the current agreement, it’s clear that it’s not actually likely to fix anything. Yes a loan has been granted, but all that means is there will now be a new round of talks on a full third bailout from the EU. Not a great deal has changed, the can has just been kicked further down the road, and what a long road it is!
What happens next with Greece?
The EU will likely provide the lending to Greece tomorrow. Germany now needs to agree to continue negotiating on the full €86bn bailout. Later this month Greece needs to pass further reforms, and if all that happens, then talks begin again to a full bailout using the European Stability Mechanism. So actually, we are still a long way off from a proper solution to help Greece, hence GBP/EUR exchange rates the best they have been in close to a decade.
Which way will exchange rates move now?
It’s impossible to predict of course, but with everyone now likely to have to go back to the negotiating table, and the IMF stating much more needs to be done, all the uncertainty that has been keeping the Euro weak remains. This could keep the Euro weak, and other developments may now push GBP/EUR higher.
Perhaps they should start printing the Euro on Greece proof paper in the meantime!
If we look at interest rates in the UK, USA and EU, then it’s clear that Britain and the United States will start to raise rates before our European partners. As I explained in a post earlier this week, the rumour of higher interest rates drives investment in a currency due to the higher return. With the EU still pursuing a Quantitative Easing programme, interest rates there are likely to remain low for a long time to come. This means investors will move funds away from the Euro into Sterling and the US Dollar, and this also means the Euro is likely to weaken, and GBP and USD will strengthen. This could mean that GBP/EUR goes higher, but we’ll have to wait and see.
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