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Pound to slump as UK economy stalls?

currency-newsPound to slump as UK economy stalls?

The pound trended higher yesterday as easing Brexit uncertainty offered some relief to the UK currency.

However Sterling is struggling to extend these gains this morning, with GBP/EUR muted at €1.1827 and GBP/USD subdued at $1.2906. GBP/CAD and GBP/NZD are holding steady at C$1.7160 and NZ$2.0212 respectively, while GBP/AUD retreats to AU$1.9244.

Coming up, the focus today will be on the UK’s latest GDP estimate. Will a stagnation of UK growth in the fourth quarter weigh on GBP exchange rates today?

What’s been happening?

After struggling through most of last week, the pound made some tentative gains on Monday amid an easing of Brexit uncertainty.

Sterling’s gains were particularly strong against the euro, which took a hit at the start of the week following Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer’s shock decision to step down as leader of Germany’s main governing party.

Kramp-Karrenbauer was widely seen as the most likely candidate to succeed Angela Merkel when she steps down as Chancellor next year, and her resignation as the leader of Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party will cast considerable political uncertainty over the Eurozone’s largest economy. 

Meanwhile, demand for the US dollar was underpinned by ongoing concerns over the coronavirus outbreak in China, with investors worried about how it may impact global growth.  

What’s coming up?

Centre stage today will be the publication of the UK’s latest GDP figures

Barring an incredible surge of growth in December, it appears highly likely that today’s figures will confirm fears that the UK economy stagnated at the end of 2019, in light of heightened political uncertainty.

As a result we expect to see the pound come under pressure this morning, especially if a stalling of growth is seen as increasing the odds of a rate cut from the Bank of England (BoE) later in the year.

The focus for USD investors today will be Jerome Powell’s semi-annual testimony in front of Congress.

Traders will be eager to hear the Federal Reserve Chair’s latest take on the US economy and monetary policy, potentially driving the US dollar higher should he strike a broadly upbeat tone.

Finally, in the Eurozone a speech by European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde looks to be the main catalyst of movement for the euro today as EUR investors hope for more insight into the bank’s policy plans.

Philip McHugh

Philip McHugh

Joining the corporate trading desk in 2007, Phil now over sees all of Currencies Direct’s corporate dealing activity. Having gained experience working with hundreds of businesses to optimise international payments processes and execute comprehensive risk management strategies, Phil currently works with a portfolio of corporate clients whilst managing Currencies Direct’s overall market exposure

Phil has FCA approval and has completed the Certificate in International Treasury Management (CertiTM)

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