The British pound/U.S. dollar (GBP/USD) currency pair has remained largely supported after the Bank of England’s policy decision on Thursday. The BoE decided to keep interest rates unchanged last week but the meeting was nonetheless seen as being hawkish since three MPC members voted for a rate hike rather than just the two expected. The pound rallied sharply on that day and it eked out a gain on Friday even if it closed off its best levels.
The U.S. dollar is mixed against major pairs. Safe havens like the Swiss franc, Japanese yen and the euro have gained against the greenback, while the Canadian and New Zealand dollars along with the pound are lower. Strong data in Europe boosted the single currency but the rally was short-lived after the Trump administration announced a review of US-EU trade that could result in a 20% tariff on European car imports.
As is often the case with central bank meetings in the era of communication-as-a-policy-tool, the Bank of England’s “decision” (read: no change) on interest rates was already telegraphed well in advance. But for the always forward-looking markets, there was still plenty to digest from this morning’s BOE statement.
Markets have calmed down since yesterday’s big risk asset selloff, but that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing exciting on the horizon for traders. Namely, tomorrow’s Bank of England meeting should provide some important insights into Mark Carney and company see policy unfolding moving forward.
It is expected that the latest installment of concerns over the United States and China entering a potential trade war will encourage global stock markets to come under pressure this week. Some indications of risk aversion are already being seen in the markets, with the Japanese yen gaining as a result of market uncertainty and a number of different Asian currencies trading lower due to reduced investor appetite.
The euro/British pound (EUR/GBP) currency pair could be on the verge of a breakdown after the European Central Bank’s policy decision on Thursday. While the central bank’s plan to end quantitative easing programme at the end of the year was a hawkish development, investors had already priced in that decision.
With a rate hike in June considered a done deal, investors may be more concerned with the economic projections and press conference with Fed Chair, Jerome Powell. Markets are poised to closely scrutinize the Fed’s monetary policy statement for clues on how fast the Fed may raise interest rates during the second half of this year.
This is the biggest week of the year and the euro started off on solid footing. It is still having difficulty getting through technical resistance but firm comments from Italian Finance Minister that they will not leave the Euro were supportive.