To say this week has been a poor one for the British pound is an understatement. The downbeat currency – already reeling from ongoing Brexit and political uncertainties – has been hit further by disappointing domestic economic data. Investors have been left wondering whether the soft data may have any implications on the Bank of England’s decision to hike interest rates next month. Although a 25 basis point rate rise is still likely, the probability of a no change has risen thanks to the disappointing wages, inflation and now retail sales figures.
The British pound/U.S. dollar (GBP/USD) currency pair broke down earlier on the back of a slightly disappointing UK wages data and after reports emerged that Prime Minister Theresa May could lose an important parliamentary vote on Brexit. Apparently, Labour will support a move from pro-European Tory MPs to keep the UK in a customs union with the EU if no trade deal is reached by January.
Investors have been left wondering whether today’s sluggish jobs data may have any implications on the Bank of England’s rate decision next month. Total pay levels rose at an annual rate of 2.5% in the three months to May, unchanged from April, according to the ONS.
The dollar started the new week lower, supporting the major currency pairs such as the euro/U.S. dollar (EUR/USD) currency pair and poubd//U.S. dollar (GBP/USD) currency pair this morning. There wasn’t any fresh news out to impact the greenback, so its weakness can be attributed in part to profit-taking.
If you were just to look at the where the major currencies are trading relative to yesterday’s US close, you’d think it’s been a pretty quiet day; after all, none of the majors are trading more than 0.3% from the day’s open as of writing. However, that apparent tranquility is masking some big moves (and subsequent reversals) over the last 20 hours.
Investors were placed on an emotional rollercoaster ride this week as trade tensions between the United States and China intensified. The Trump Administration’s latest threats to impose tariffs on an additional $200 billion of Chinese goods initially dealt a blow to global sentiment, rekindled jitters and sparked risk aversion.
After a three-month rally for the U.S. dollar, the month of July started on the back foot last week as the likes of the euro, pound and Aussie all found some much-needed support. But the yen was lagging behind last week, undermined in part by the fact the Bank of Japan remains one of the most dovish central banks out there.
“There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.”
With respect to the early 20th Century Soviet leader, pound traders no doubt feel like they’ve seen a decade’s worth of Brexit news crammed into just the first 24 hours of the trading week already!
Uncertainty is usually bad. But with regards to the resignation of David Davis, market participants think it may actually be a good thing as far as the pound is concerned. The Brexit secretary resigned after the UK Prime Minister Theresa May forced through a new “soft Brexit” strategy she intends to present to the cabinet at Chequers.
For euro/British pound (EUR/GBP) currency pair traders, there’s been good news and bad news over the last couple of months: The good news is that they’ve had plenty of time to watch the World Cup…and the bad news is that neither bulls nor bears are making any money in the pair!