Currency Note

Sterling-watchers look to tomorrow’s inflation rate

By Christopher Nye March 21st, 2023

UK inflation eases but food prices remain at their highest level in 45 years.

The Office for National Statistics has just reported that latest figures for public sector net borrowing in the UK posted a £15.86bn deficit in February, compared to a £6.2bn gap in the previous year.

A flurry of UK economic releases are scheduled to hit markets tomorrow morning. Of them all, it will be the latest inflation rate, released by the ONS, to take the spotlight at 7am.

In January, UK inflation fell to 10.1% and is expected to fall again on Wednesday to 9.7%. Many will be watching closely to see if the results come in as markets expect.

Central banks including the Bank of England announced they would support the flow of US dollars following the failures of two US banks and last week’s Credit Suisse turmoil, which sent shockwaves across global markets. The BoE said its US dollar cash flow arrangement will run from Monday until at least the end of April.

In Downing Street yesterday, officials said the UK banking system is “safe and well-capitalised” following the Credit Suisse turmoil.

Fears over the global financial system also impacted stock markets yesterday, on a more positive note, with French stocks rebounding. The CAC 40 index bounced back from losses at the open, gaining approximately 1% on Monday, tracking its European peers.

National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) members who work for 14 of the UK’s train operating companies are due to go ahead with strikes on 30th March and 1st April however, thousands of other key rail stall in the RMT union have voted overwhelmingly to accept a pay offer from Network Rail bringing the longstanding dispute to a close.

The RMT said that nearly 90% of members turned up to vote and 76% voted in favour of Network Rail’s pay offer.

The US dollar gave a mixed performance on Monday afternoon before weakening against sterling and strengthening against the euro, as investors examined the health of the global financial system. Tomorrow, dollar-watchers will look to the Fed for its latest interest rate decision which is expected to rise by 25bps.

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GBP: Markets braced for a flurry of ONS data

It is scheduled to be a busy day for the office for national statistics (ONS) tomorrow.

As well as inflation, many will be keeping a close eye on the latest PPI input and output data which will be released along with inflation at 7am. Producer price index will be one to watch as it is a leading indicator of consumer inflation.

Economists will be keen to see if the index is accurate or greater than what market expectations.

GBP/USD over the past year

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EUR: Consumer confidence scheduled for Thursday

On Thursday, markets will see the latest consumer confidence reading for the eurozone. The consumer confidence survey assesses the responses of around 2,300 consumers within eurozone countries, on how they view past and future economic conditions.

It is an important data release for investors, as the survey provides markets with a large indication of consumer spending, giving a huge insight into economic activity.

USD: Economists look to FOMC economic projections

The dollar gave a mixed performance on Monday afternoon as investors examined the health of the global financial system.

Tomorrow, along with the latest interest rate decision, the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee will release its economic projections for inflation, interest rates and the country’s economic growth over the next two years. Investors will be listening out for any hawkish comments that could lift the US dollar against its rival currencies.

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