Keep up to date with our currency expert Chantelle, Client Account Executive at Currencies Direct.
“Any Brexit related news is liable to be the driving force behind pound exchange rate movement over the next few weeks.”
Speculation that the European Central Bank (ECB) will remain dovish on the subject of monetary policy for the foreseeable future has countered the impact of a run of positive Eurozone data over the last few weeks. However the euro is still standing firm against rivals like the pound and US dollar.
After getting off to a fairly positive start to the year, the pound failed to sustain its initial momentum and has reversed gains against a number of the majors. Demand for the pound eased on concerns that government disagreements will have a negative impact on Brexit negotiations. Investors were also concerned as EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier intimated that the UK achieving a transitional deal after Brexit should not be taken for granted. Brexit worries prevented the pound from deriving much benefit from the Bank of England (BoE) indicating that rates could rise sooner than currently forecast at its first policy gathering of 2018.
The Federal Reserve increased interest rates in December 2017, but the move had been so long expected that it failed to boost the US dollar. In fact, USD exchange rates actually softened as the Fed implied that interest rates would only be raised a further three times in 2018 rather than the four times hoped for.
What to look out for
Any Brexit related news is liable to be the driving force behind pound exchange rate movement over the next few weeks. UK data will also be of interest, as any reports which reduce the chances of the BoE increasing interest rates in 2018 will put the pound under pressure.
Italy will be taking to the polls in March and most experts expect the election to result in a coalition government, with Silvio Berlusconi’s conservative alliance projected to take the biggest share of votes. The impact this would have on the euro largely depends on which parties Berlusconi allies himself with. If Berlusconi opts for Matteo Salvini, the euro would be pressured lower thanks to his opposition to the single currency and preference for returning to the lira.
The US dollar remained on soft form for much of January, although the currency has since recovered from its worst levels against the pound. The Fed is forecast to increase borrowing costs at its March gathering, and if it indicates that a further three adjustments could be made over the rest of the year we could see the US dollar jump.