Pound Sterling - UK Markets

Sterling currency rates have recovered slightly this morning ahead of the Bank of England interest rate decision. The pound has gained against the US dollar and Japanese yen, and is unchanged against the euro, currently trading at 1.15.

Today the MPC is expected to increase the level of quantitative easing to GBP150 billion, following the dire production and GDP figures released in the last week. Bank of England governor King has announced that economic recovery is expected to be a "long hard slog" and more action could be needed to kick-start a sustainable recovery in the UK. This morning's figures show the UK trade deficit has narrowed to GBP-6.3 billion, the lowest level since June 2006. The interest rate decision is due at noon. 

US Dollar - US Markets

US currency rates are mixed this morning as the dollar has gained against its Asian currency partners but weakened against the European currencies. In early trading this morning the dollar lost half a percent against the pound and euro, currently trading at 0.61 and 0.71 respectively.

The IMF released updated forecasts yesterday, revising global growth down to -1.4% this year, with a 2.5% expansion predicted in 2010. The report also announced that recovery in the G8 nations could be quicker than expected and the priority for governments should be devising an exit strategy from stimulus packages, while maintaining low inflation and steady growth. However the largely positive report failed to trigger gains in currency exchange rates, as markets were more interested in the results of the G8 summit. Jobless claims figures are out in the US today.

Euro - European Markets

Currency rates for the euro have strengthened this morning against its international currency partners, gaining 0.5% on the dollar and 0.9% on the yen due to increased risk appetite in the market. The euro is currently valued at 0.86 versus the pound and remains just below the 1.4 level against the US dollar.

The German consumer price index has risen 0.4% on the month for June, completing a surprisingly optimistic picture of the German economy this week. As the largest in the eurozone, a recovery in the German trade and export sector could be instrumental in helping to lift the rest of the euro economy out of recession. The G8 summit continues in Italy today, with economy top of the international agenda and the ECB monthly report is also due today.

Other Currencies - Highlights

Aussie and Kiwi currency rates rose against the euro and pound this morning, boosted by market optimism and the pending UK interest rate decision. Australian unemployment levels rose in June to 5.8%, a drastic rise from last year's low of 3.9%. However this failed to disrupt Aussie currency rates too much, as the 21,000 jobs lost was largely in line with market expectations.

Central banks in Chile and Peru are set to cut interest rates today, after annual inflation figures in Chile fell below government targets. Chile has already reduced the base interest rate by 7.5% this year, more than any other central bank as the economy suffers due to declining export prices and reduced consumer demand. Economists are also predicting Peru will reduce its base interest rate to 2.5% for the sixth consecutive month following the affects of recession on the economy.