Interest rates on hold
Pound Sterling - UK Markets
UK foreign exchange rates have declined from the seven-month high against the dollar and five-month high against the euro earlier this week on the back of political uncertainty in the UK. Despite positive economic figures, news that the Labour government is facing MP resignations dragged the pound down to 1.60 against the dollar and 1.13 against the euro. UK foreign exchange rates have also declined against a basket of international currency partners.
The UK producer price index out this morning has hit a multi-year low, largely on the back of falling oil prices. Yesterday, the Bank of England voted to keep interest rates on hold at 0.5% and maintain current levels of quantitative easing. This led to investor optimism that the MPC plan to stimulate the economy may be working. However despite the positive news, the fragile political situation has been negative for sterling exchange rates. Today, foreign exchange markets in the UK are likely to be affected by US employment data and political news from the government.
US Dollar - US Markets
Results are mixed for the US dollar this morning as foreign exchange rates have been volatile in the run up to the release of US employment data. The dollar has declined against the pound and euro this morning, but has gained against the yen, Canadian dollar and South African rand.
Employment data released in the US today is likely to be the major influence on foreign exchange rates internationally as the labour market is central to global recovery. The current market consensus is for a 0.3% rise in the US unemployment rate to 9.1%. Yesterday the US currency dipped in response to concern over the dollar's status as an international reserve although this ground has been recovered this morning. Average hourly earnings, the non-farm payroll and official unemployment rate are released today.
Euro - European Markets
Foreign exchange rates for the eurozone have improved this morning with the euro currently trading above 1.4 against the US dollar and 0.88 against the pound. The euro has also gained against the yen and Canadian dollar while losing ground to the Aussie and Kiwi currencies.
The ECB left interest rates unchanged at 1% yesterday and President Trichet commented that they may remain on hold for some time, as the euro economy is expected to begin a gradual recovery in 2010. With the eurozone expected to experience a greater downturn than the UK, euro foreign exchange rates may be slightly bearish versus the pound in the short term. There is no data due in the eurozone today.
Other Currencies - Highlights
The Australian and New Zealand dollars rose for the third consecutive week against the yen as investors favoured the higher yields based on speculation that the global recession is abating. An interest rate decision from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand is due next week and the NZD could experience some volatility in the run up to this. In the meantime, global foreign exchange trends based on US employment data are likely to affect foreign exchange rates for the Kiwi and Aussie currencies.