Currency Note

All eyes on BoE and ECB for latest interest rates

By Christopher Nye February 2nd, 2023

BoE to decide on the interest rate today.

Sterling weakened against a handful of currencies yesterday including the euro and australian dollar. GBP/AUD was pushed lower by the UK’s latest PMI data which revealed signs of poor performance in the UK’s manufacturing sector.

In business news, British Steel is considering 800 job cuts to its Scunthorpe plant in Lincolnshire. The company currently employs around 4,500 workers in the UK.

Markets are poised for both the Bank of England and European Central Bank’s interest rate decisions which will be released over the course of this afternoon. The BoE will decide at 12pm followed by the ECB at 1:15pm UK time.

Dollar-watchers also heard the Federal Reserve’s latest interest rate decision at 7pm on Wednesday. The bank decided on a 25bp hike in line with expectations. Although this points to the Fed dialing back on rate hikes for a second straight meeting, this still pushes borrowing costs in the US to their highest levels in over a decade.

Also on Wednesday, UK and European equity markets were quiet as investors digested fresh economic data and nervously awaited the Fed’s decision.

Equities in Germany made little movement, while in London they dropped for a second consecutive session. The blue-chip FTSE 100 closed around the 7,760 mark, largely due to losses among healthcare and materials, which offset gains in real estate.

The FBI began searching President Joe Biden’s home in Rehoboth, Delaware yesterday as part of an investigation into classified documents. Biden’s attorney said the search was “planned” with the president’s “full support” in a statement yesterday.

Initial jobless claims for the US will be released at lunchtime today, which will give investors clues on the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits.

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GBP: BoE to decide on interest

In its last meeting, the Bank of England voted by a majority of 6-3 to raise interest rates by 50 basis points to 3.5%, which pushed borrowing costs to their highest level since late-2008.

The bank’s monetary policy committee agreed that, if the outlook pointed to more persistent inflationary pressures, then it would continue to tighten policy as necessary. Investors will be listening closely to the bank’s decision.

GBP/USD over the past year

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EUR: Euro-watchers poised for ECB decision

Euro-watchers will be on standby for volatility over the course of this morning following the Fed’s decision yesterday, and in the run up to the ECB’s and BoE’s this afternoon.

There are also important eurozone data releases including Germany’s balance of trade and Spain’s unemployment change, which could impact the single currency’s movements.

USD: Fed raised interest by 25bps

All eyes were on the dollar in the lead up to the FOMC’s meeting yesterday as analysts expected volatility. In particular, declines were expected across EUR/USD, GBP/USD and USD/JPY.

This morning the dollar made weekly gains against sterling however, against the euro the dollar is still weak. This follow’s the Fed’s decision to raise interest rates by 25bps. Markets will be keeping a close eye on how the BoE and ECB decisions will impact the dollar’s rivals later today.

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