Will the Bank of England help or hinder sterling exchange rates?
Last night the US federal reserve raised interest rates by 25-basis points against a backdrop of financial instability in the US banking sector. US interest rates are now at the highest since 2007. At the start of the week many had expected the Fed to hold rates at their March meeting. The SVB banking failure caused concern throughout the sector and further interest rate rises could inflict more pain on troubled banks.
Cable (GBPUSD) benefitted following the Fed’s announcement and immediately rose to 7-week highs presenting a great opportunity for dollar buyers. EURUSD also rose to a 7-week high amidst the expectation that there will be no further rate hikes from the Fed. Some commentators are expecting the Fed to start cutting interest rates in the latter half of 2023 which is piling pressure on the dollar.
The Fed’s dovish statement is positive for sterling and future exchange rates against the dollar and other dollar-based currencies; however, a lot will depend on the tone of the Bank of England this afternoon. The BoE have their March meeting and expectations are for interest rates to rise by 25-basis points.
GBPEUR has begun to lose value in the lead up to this meeting and is trading close to 2-week lows as of this morning. This could be a window of opportunity for euro sellers.
If the bank takes a similar dovish tone to the Fed, then we could see further pressure on the pound. UK inflation is still extremely elevated at 10.4% which suggests the banks previous hikes have not yet had the intended impact. Future interest rate rises may be needed in the UK to bring inflation under control and markets will be looking for any suggestion on this from the bank.
Tomorrow morning is packed with significant economic data releases. PMI data from the UK, Eurozone, and US along with UK retail sales and US durable goods orders.
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