What to watch out for in the currency markets this week

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20 February 2018

Matthew Ryan

Senior Market Analyst at Ebury. Providing expert currency analysis so small and mid-sized businesses can effectively navigate international markets.

With US financial markets closed on Monday due to Presidents Day, yesterday was a fairly quiet one in the currency markets. Investors instead awaited a slew of more meaningful announcements later in the week, which could lead to a volatile few days of FX trading.

U
S Dollar bulls will be hoping that the release of Wednesday evening’s Federal Reserve’s meeting minutes reignites some form of recovery rally in the greenback. The currency has been firmly on the back foot in the past couple of weeks. A combination of a broadly impressive economic recovery in Europe and concerns over Donald Trump’s leadership, among other factors, has meant that the Dollar index has been languishing around its lowest level since late-2014. A more concrete signal from the Fed that suggest it could raise rates on as many as four occasions in the US this year could, however, provide some much needed assistance for the greenback.

In the UK, Thursday’s revised GDP data for the final quarter of last year are expected to confirm that the pace of expansion picked up pace at the end of 2017. In the meantime, the Bank of England will be closely watching Wednesday morning’s labour report data. A surprise uptick in wages would no doubt cause the market to increase its expectations for another interest rate hike in the UK at the BoE’s May meeting. Financial markets are currently pricing in around a 55% chance of a hike in May, when the bank’s next set of economic projections are released.

BoE’s Carney claims Brexit the main driver for Sterling

Almost every major and emerging market currency spent yesterday stuck in a range, as is generally the case when US markets are closed. The Euro edged back below the 1.24 market for the first time since Wednesday, although ended London trading modestly higher against the Dollar. Sterling, meanwhile, hovered around the 1.40 mark throughout much of the session, before edging below it as markets opened this morning.

Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney spoke yesterday, although added nothing meaningful on monetary policy. Carney instead claimed that Brexit was the main mover behind Sterling, and not speculation about any trade deals with the US.

In the absence of any surprises in today’s Eurozone consumer and business confidence data, the major currencies are likely to trade mostly on underlying factors.