Sterling made brief gains against the US dollar this morning, however the pound still hovers close to its weakest levels since November last year against the greenback as investors continue to rush to the US dollar following recent hawkish remarks from the Fed chair, Jerome Powell.
Against the euro, sterling has also made gains since yesterday but is weaker against the single currency on both a weekly and monthly footing.
Industrial strike action by the UK’s largest rail union RMT on 16th and 18th of March will no longer go ahead. This comes after the RMT said it will ask its members to consider accepting a new pay deal. The referendum will begin on Thursday and end on 20th March.
On the data front, today is a quiet day for UK’s economic releases however, this all changes tomorrow and investors will have plenty to digest with the return of GDP, industrial production, manufacturing and much more.
It looks as though the impact of Jerome Powell’s comments on Tuesday and Wednesday continue to reverberate throughout the markets, and it is European equity markets that bear the brunt of it all today. This morning, European stocks were headed for a lower open following comments from the Fed’s chair. Additionally, the hotter-than-expected US jobs data (which supported the case for further hawkishness) also impacted the stocks’ performance.
Data from the US will dominate today’s key releases and dollar-watchers will be keeping a close eye on whether this data impacts the greenback’s new-found strength.
Initial jobless claims will take the spotlight at lunchtime, followed by a speech from vice chair for supervision of the Federal Reserve, Michael Barr this afternoon.
In the global fight against inflation, the rate in China fell to a one-year low in February, prompting Chinese stocks to fall for the fourth consecutive session as investors digested the data. The Shanghai Composite fell 0.22%, closing at 3,276, while the Shenzhen Component lost 0.16% and closed at 11,580 on Thursday.
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GBP: GDP takes the spotlight tomorrow
On Friday, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) will release the latest monthly and yearly GDP figures, which will give markets an idea of the change in the total value of all goods and services produced by the UK’s economy. The previous figures fell by 0.5% (monthly) pointing to the first drop in three months. It was also worse than the 0.3% fall markets were expecting.
If tomorrow’s GDP figures are in line with forecasts of no change (0.0%) then this would please markets and could possibly have a positive impact on sterling. Pound-watchers will be on standby for the results.
GBP/USD over the past year
EUR: Quiet day for eurozone data
Like the UK, the eurozone will also be quiet on the data front today. The momentum resumes on Friday with Spanish retail sales, Italy’s PPI and a speech from the president of the European central bank, Christine Lagarde.
In its last meeting, hawkish ECB policymakers agreed that tightening should continue to bring down inflation however, members were split on which stance to take for the March meeting. Many will be listening for any clues from Lagarde tomorrow.
USD: All eyes on unemployment data
The department of Labor will release its initial jobless claims data at 1:30pm UK time. The data will provide clues on how many Americans filed for unemployment insurance for the first time over the past week.
Initial jobless claims will be a key release for many market participants, as the figures provide an important insight into the overall economic health of the country. This is because consumer spending is generally correlates with labor-market conditions.
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