Friday 18th September 2015
FED leave interest rates on hold
Last night the US Federal Reserve opted to keep interest rates at their low of 0.25%. There was a small chance that they would raise interest rates but this didn’t materialise. The FED Chair Janet Yellen cited the slowdown in China and emerging markets as the reason to keep the benchmark rate and this has weakened the Dollar making it a little cheaper to purchase. The rate climbed to around $1.5650 but has since started to slip away. They will raise rates at some point, probably early next year, so any rise in the rate should be taken advantage of, as it’s likely the GBP/USD will drop in the medium term. Therefore if you need US Dollars, consider a ‘Stop Loss’ order to protect against a sharp drop. I’ve read forecasts from Barclays Capital with expectations of $1.43 by the end of this year!
Will Pound/Euro rates go up or down?
The initial reaction to the FED move was for GBP/EURO to fall. There are 2 reasons this happened. Firstly, investors that had lodged funds in USD to take advantage of the possible rate hike moved them back to Euros, causing the single currency to gain. Also, the fact the USA have left rates on hold mean the UK are likely to do the same for many months, and this caused the Pound to weaken slightly. However, throughout today, the rate has clawed its way back up to around €1.37:
The Pound/Euro exchange rate may move lower in the coming months however. A month or two ago, everybody thought the Bank of England would raise interest rates and this had caused the Pound to rise. A hike is now incredibly unlikely any time soon though, and in fact the UK may have to cut interest rates.
The Bank of England’s chief economist has said that the bank may have to cut rates to combat low inflation, rather than raise. Inflation may not pick up in the second half of the year, and there are risks of fallout from emerging economies, he said in a speech. Should those risks materialise, a rate cut would be a viable option, he said.
The UK economic recovery has stalled of late. Softening employment figures and weakening surveys on manufacturing and construction output suggested growth in the UK could slow in the second half of the year and inflation might not pick up as expected. Furthermore, problems in emerging markets could be a drag on UK growth and the headwinds from those economies were unlikely to abate any time soon.
I personally don’t think a rate cut is on the cards, but at the same time there is very little chance of them opting to raise rates. This is likely to keep the Pound low for the coming months. Any clients looking to purchase Euros should therefore consider their options to ensure they don’t get a lower rate than is necessary.
Get in touch to discuss your options
If you need to buy or sell Euros, or indeed any international currency, then get in touch to discuss your options. I can explain the various ways you can protect yourself against the rate moving against you, and provide a quote for you to compare with your bank or exiting broker. I can typically secure exchange rates up to 3% better than banks and other brokers may offer, which could save you thousands of pounds if you are converting a large sum.