Currency Note

Sterling unchanged despite boosted construction PMI

By Sharyh Murray-Francis March 6th, 2023

S&P construction PMI in the UK rose to 54.6, exceeding market expectations.

On Monday, the S&P released its figures for construction PMI in the UK, which exceeded market expectations. The index for UK Construction PMI rose to 54.6, from 48.4 in January, and above forecasts of  49.1.

Yesterday’s better than-expected data would have been one of the key contributing factors in GBP/USD’s rally yesterday, however, it is worth noting that sterling is still weaker against the greenback on both weekly and monthly comparisons.

We’ve just heard from the British Retail consortium (BRS), that the yearly figures for UK retail sales have risen to 4.9% in February from 3.9% in January.

Markets have also just seen the latest house price index from Halifax, which gave investors clues on the change in Britain’s house prices. The monthly index rose by 1.1%, following an upwardly revised 0.2% gain in January.

Over the course of the week, market-watchers will see a range of low-impact economic releases for the UK, including the latest construction output, before the spotlight turns to GDP on Friday.

In the eurozone, the latest retail sales for Italy will be released tomorrow at 9am – one hour before Spain’s consumer confidence which is forecast to rise again.

Those interested in the dollar’s movements will have several hot data releases to keep an eye on tomorrow including JOLTs job openings and a testimony from Fed Chair Jerome Powell. There will also be a highly anticipated rate statement issued from the Bank of Canada.

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GBP: A closer look at PMI

Monday’s PMI reading pointed to the fastest pace of growth in the construction sector in almost a year, since last May. The results also showed that construction increased the most in nine months while civil engineering works also returned to growth.

The positive PMI boosted sterling momentarily however not enough to bring the pound out of the euro and greenback’s shadows.

GBP/USD over the past year

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EUR: Retail sales climb – slightly…

The Euro area’s latest retail trade data showed that trade increased by 0.3% (following a downwardly revised 1.7% drop in December). However, yesterday’s climb confirmed that retail sales for January still missed market expectations of 1.0% growth. (1.3% predicted)

Sales increased for food, drinks and tobacco (1.8% vs -2.1% in December) and non-food goods (0.8% vs -2.5%).

USD: Greenback maintains gains against sterling

The US dollar made daily, weekly and monthly gains against sterling by the end of the business day on Monday as markets digested economic data. Today the greenback is still strong against sterling and a few other rivals, such as the canadian dollar and australian dollar. Against the euro however, the dollar is still weaker.

Markets will be looking forward to lots of trade data from the US, including the latest balance of trade, exports and imports.

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