Fluent in Foreign Exchange
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Sterling strengthens as BoE was less dovish than expected
07 Aug 2020
The pound strengthened yesterday as the Bank of England was less dovish than expected, despite acknowledging that the economy would take longer to recover than first expected.
The central bank revised its belief that the economy would recover by second half of 2021, now stating that the economy would not recover to its size at the end of 2019 by the end of 2021.
Most focus seemed to centre on the notion that negative interest rates would not be on the table for now, and all of the policy makers voted unanimously to keep the interest rate at 0.1%. Governor Bailey stated that whilst they had no plans to cut to below zero, they are not removing it from their toolbox.
Ahead of today’s key payrolls report, the dollar gained some strength in the early hours of trading due to increased concerns around the worsening in relations between the United States and China.
President Trump has taken early steps to ban transactions with the Chinese owners of two popular mobile apps; Tencent Holdings and ByteDance. Trump has stated that the apps owned by these companies (such as TikTok and WeChat) are a threat to national security and will action a ban that will start in 45 days. This is being seen by investors as the latest development in the escalation of tensions between the world’s two biggest powers.
All eyes are now on today’s non-farm payrolls with the expectation that US jobs created will have slowed, in line with the recent resurgence in coronavirus cases.
13:30 – USD – Non-farm Payroll (Jul); expected to decrease from previous 4800k to 1600k
Biggest dollar decline in a decade
06 Aug 2020
The pound completed a positive week across the board to end July, despite most positive currency movements for sterling being based off the back weakness of other currencies, in particular the US Dollar.
Concerns of a second wave of infections and an economy that is flagging and growing pressure to reach a Brexit trade deal before a transition period ends in December are pushing the market to become wary of the pound’s prospects over the next few months.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday some lockdown easing planned for the whole of England would need to be pushed back for the time being. Establishments such as casinos and bowling alleys, due to reopen on Saturday, have had their reopening pushed back for at least two weeks. Suggestions were also put forward to close pubs once schools are due to reopen.
The dollar clawed back some loses against a basket of currencies on Friday as investors took end of month profits after the biggest monthly decline for the dollar in a decade.
The dollar index was down 4.1% for the month of July, the biggest monthly percentage fall since September 2010. The bulk of the loss was seen in the final ten days as coronavirus cases surged across the US and July’s data pointed to an economic recovery running out of steam.
Any strong dollar recovery does also seem to be being held back by President Trump’s idea that the presidential election, currently due for November, should be pushed back due to concerns over mail-in voter fraud.
14:00 – USD: US ISM Manufacturing PMI; expected to rise to 54 from previous 52.6
The dollar had a mixed day yesterday
06 Aug 2020
The dollar had a mixed day yesterday, as positive manufacturing ISM data was balanced out by poor employment data and uncertainty around further fiscal stimulus.
The headline figure on the ISM Manufacturing Index climbed to a fifteen month high of 54.2, beating expectations and helping sentiment along the way. Initially this also reinforced the belief that the greenback has been oversold, but proceeding data showed heavy job losses in the manufacturing sector. The employment sub-index remained below 50%, indicating that companies continued to reduce jobs in the month of July.
As the day progressed, we also saw increased uncertainty around the timing and likelihood of additional US fiscal support and continuing rise in coronavirus cases. This eroded the early gains and leads investors to be increasingly doubtful about the sustainability of an economic recovery.
Sterling consolidates amid Bank of England uncertainty
06 Aug 2020
Sterling consolidated its position at the start of this week, clawing back some of its early losses against the US Dollar.
Lingering fears of a second wave of virus infections and a Bank of England policy meeting tomorrow seem to be capping the pound at current levels. An early week fall for Sterling, although fairly small, reversed a trend earlier in the session where the pound had been advancing towards a five-month high hit last week versus the dollar.
The pound’s recovery and ability to sustain its level has been impressive in the past few weeks. It registered its biggest monthly rise in more than a decade in July even though prospects of a breakthrough in Brexit negotiations before a December deadline remain touch and go.
The dollar stuttered yesterday after a strong start in the European session. Any gains were largely unwound as the latest coronavirus relief package stalled in Congress.
Although some progress has been reported, both major parties are still fairly wide apart on some key issues. US yields also sank on the prospect that further monetary easing might be needed to support the struggling economy.
The immediate outlook for the dollar remains tied partly to relief aid talks in Washington and the economic impact of new virus cases in the United States. President Trump’s recent interview with Axio did nothing to calm any fears of coronavirus cases still on the rise in many major states and cities across the US.
Despite some encouraging factory data, investors remained concerned. The next big US data points will be weekly jobless claims and the July US employment report this week. Any under performance in any of these categories could further cut the dollar.
09.00 – EU – Retail sales expected to rise to -0.5% from -5.1% previous
14.00 – US – Non manufacturing PMI expected to drop to 55 from 57.1 previous
Sterling edges towards 2020 highs
06 Aug 2020
Sterling edged towards 2020 highs against a broadly weaker dollar this morning benefitting from the Bank of England’s decision to keep interest rates on hold.
Members of the BoE committee voted unanimously to keep interest rates unchanged at 0.1% and failed to make any alterations to it’s bond-buying programme. The bank also improved their 2020 projections with unemployment expectations rising to 7.5% and that the economy would shrink by 9.5% as opposed to 14% stated in May by year end.
Despite a less gloomy 2020, the Bank of England did acknowledge that an economic recovery would likely be slower than they had initially anticipated with UK GDP rebounding by 9% next year as opposed to 15% forecasted in May.
Whilst not ruling out negative interest rates completely, the BoE acknowledged that introducing negative rates at this time could be less effective as a tool to stimulate the economy citing the important role the banks will play by providing finance for businesses and individuals to aid the economic recovery. In terms of tightening policy, the Bank of England stated that they will not tighten until significant progress is made and the 2% inflation target is being achieved consistently.
A side from today’s Bank of England announcement, yesterday saw the release of the latest UK services PMI data which showed the UK’s services sector posting its fastest expansion in five years, rising to 56.5 from 47.1 in June. Although a significant jump, service providers warned that the “output had risen from an extremely low base” and that one third of those surveyed reported a drop in employment.
The dollar depreciated further yesterday amid concerns that the US economy may recover at a much slower pace than first thought as the US struggles to shrug off its ever growing rise in coronavirus infections.
Yesterday also saw the release of the ADP National Employment Report, which showed US private payrolls growth slowing sharply in July. There was also a separate survey by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) which showed US services industry activity gaining momentum in July as new orders jumped to record highs. However, hiring figures declined, which has caused some caution amongst investors ahead of the upcoming job figures release later this week.
In addition to this, the dollar is losing some support following the latest reports suggest the Democrats and Republicans are struggling to find common ground on agreeing a new coronavirus relief package despite missing Friday’s deadline to extend enhanced unemployment payments.
12:30 – GBP – Bank of England Governor Bailey speech
13:30 – USD – Initial Jobless Claims (Jul 31) expected to fall to 1.415m from 1.434m
13:30 – USD – Continuing Jobless Claims (Jul 24) expected to fall 16.839m from 17.018m