ACM Update Monday 16th July 2018

The World Cup is over for another four years. Wimbledon is over for another year. Unfortunately Love Island continues to insult and decimate the IQ level of normally sane UK viewers. When does the pain end? Who knows.

The whole Brexit process is on a par with the pain and suffering that Love Island ‘entertains’ us with. It seems we are on for a ‘soft Brexit’ now. This should aid Sterling, in theory. However, today we have the most recent Brexit strategy under scrutiny in Parliament. If there any changes to the proposal? Well, it weakens the UK’s positioning power further with the EU. Should Theresa May’s proposal be voted for then Sterling should rally. 

Sterling is fairly range bound to kick off with this week as there’s no data of note out the UK today other than the vote in Parliament. 

You can view the movements over the past week on Sterling/Euro on the graph below – 

GDP/EUR - 1 Week

Sterling/Euro has been trading in a range of 1.11 – 1.14 for what seems longer than the last time Scotland reached a major football tournament (1998 for those of you that may be intrigued). If you are purchasing Euro’s from Sterling take advantage of the recent ‘spike’ in GBP/EUR. I use the term ‘spike’ tentatively. We were nestled in the mid 1.1250’s for part of last week. I would suggest utilising market orders at 1.13/1.1350. This is a realistic level to aim for. Please contact a member of the trading department to implement an order. This week data wise out of the Eurozone we have inflation data out on Wednesday in the form of CPI (Consumer Price Index) (YoY) (Jun). Other than that, this week is extremely light out of Europe. Any price movements on GBP/EUR will be likely dictated by Brexit related headlines in either the UK or Eurozone.

Sterling/Dollar

We had Retail Sales data out of the US today that were mixed. Other than the alpha male meeting of Trump/Putin there is little to report on. The Sterling focus this week will be centred around Bank of England Governor Mark Carney’s speech on Tuesday and Average Earnings out of the UK. We also have the ILO (Unemployment Rate) (3M) (May) released.  Expectations are for a print of 4.2%. We also have inflation data from the UK out on Wednesday in the form of Consumer Price Index (CPI) (YoY) (Jun). Consensus print is for 2.6%. There will be volatility surrounding Sterling on this release so please get in touch with the trading department if you have any Cable (GBP/USD) requirements.

Sterling/Dollar has been trading between mid-1.30s and just under 1.3350 over the past month. 

You can view the movements on Sterling/Dollar on the graph below –

GBP/USD - 1 Week

INSERT GBP/USD GRAPH

We’re currently towards the higher end of this range. If you have a requirement to purchase Dollars please consider locking in some of your exposure on a SPOT basis. Consider placing a market order towards 1.3350 as dependent on how Sterling performs and the market perceives the dollar and ongoing trade war concerns there may be an opportunity. However, I would add, that I don’t see Sterling/Dollar pushing too much higher over the summer.

If you need to sell Dollars back to GBP consider taking advantage of current rates.  The low on a 12 month basis is around 1.28. Might we push a few percentage points lower? Perhaps. However, if you’re holding any Dollars I would seriously consider locking in a significant amount on a SPOT basis or alternatively a Forward Contract out for 3, 6 or 12 months. This provides you with protection and peace of mind short/medium and long term irrespective how the Brexit negotiations go. Please contact the trading department to discuss your individual requirements.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule a call please get in touch directly.

Have a fantastic week.

Written by Liam Alexander

ACM Update Monday 9th July 2018

Is it coming home? It’s coming home. It’s coming home. No, not the World Cup. A ‘soft’ Brexit. Potentially. Maybe. Maybe not. Let’s go with the debut album from those Manchester rascals Oasis and say ‘Definitely Maybe’. 

David Davis, the UK’s Brexit minister, resigned. Sterling initially came off on the news although is now up 0.4% on Cable (GBP/USD) due to Theresa May’s position being strengthened, for now. This of course could dramatically change in the coming hours. Where do we go now? Is Sterling due a rally higher or will it come crashing down to earth? 

You can view the recent movements on Cable (Sterling/Dollar) and GBP/EUR on the graphs below   

GBP/USD - 1 Week

GBP/EUR - 1 Week

Most would have thought Sterling would have plummeted on the news. Quite the reverse. Sterling is up to almost the highest level in a month against the US Dollar. Granted, this is largely down to the Dollar being hammered like Panama routinely does at football. President Trump and the trade war rhetoric is weighing on USD. This can be viewed through EUR/USD pushing higher too. From a Sterling perspective, most market participants are pricing in an August interest rate rise to 0.75% so this is giving GBP a solid base to work from. 

Indeed, Sterling/Euro has pushed back above 1.13 the figure in recent trade. 1.14 has been toppish over the last few months. If you have a EUR requirement from GBP it may be worthwhile implementing a market order at 1.1350 and then 1.14 to execute on a SPOT basis. Please contact the trading department to discuss.    

If you hold EUR and need to move back into GBP I would consider locking in a sizeable portion of your exposure at current levels. Yes, it might go lower although if you can trade under 1.15 I consider this a good level to take advantage of. Please contact the trading department for a rate of exchange.

FX markets have been fairly range bound over the past week with limited price movements. Is this set to change? Politics rather than any economic fundamentals will be the main driver for Sterling in the coming weeks although as much of the world does now, Sterling will play second fiddle to what the Dollar does and that is largely determined by the man in the White House and the ongoing trade war. 

This week we have the ECB President, Mario Draghi, speaking. From the UK we have GDP (MoM) (May) released and the Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney speaking. Any further clues around interest rates will likely impact the short-term direction of Sterling. These speeches and releases largely round up the main events of this week on the economic calendar. 

If you would like to discuss your individual requirements with me please get in touch directly.

I have a funny feeling we will be paying more attention to the travails of the UK Government this week than anything else. Apart from the football.

Have a fantastic week

Written by Liam Alexander

 

ACM Update Monday June 25th 2018

As painful as this is to write as a Scot, England thrash Panama at The World Cup, beat the Springboks at Rugby and the Aussies at Cricket, Lewis Hamilton wins the Grand Prix and ‘Brexit’ is now largely irrelevant. Also, it’s going to be 30 degrees in London this week so the Hawaiian tropics will be out.

Will the sun be shining on Sterling this week or will the USD and EUR lay siege to it like rampaging Love Island watching ‘yoofs’ in Falaraki for their summer holidays? Time will tell. 

Sterling/US Dollar

Is August going to be the month when the UK raises interest rates by 25 bps to 0.75%? At the last meeting the MPC (Monetary Policy Committee) was split 6-3. We will need the economy to tick up and with Government borrowing figures looking healthier we may finally be on for a further rate rise. However, growth figures have been as lacklustre as the Panama team were at defending yesterday although we should see a gradual improvement in these numbers. 

Cable (Sterling/Dollar) has been trading in the region of 1.31-1.33 in recent trade. 

You can view the movements on the graph below – 

GBP/USD - 1 Week

This week we have Mark Carney, The Bank of England Governor, speaking on Wednesday followed by the financial stability report. Thursday we have GDP figures out of the US.

Where is Sterling/Dollar likely to go? With weekend Brexit related headlines far from positive for the UK Sterling is likely to come under some selling pressure. If you have a requirement to sell USD and purchase GBP I would consider locking in some of exposure on a SPOT basis. We can then look to implement some market orders to take advantage of any further upside. Please contact the trading department to discuss technical levels. 

Purchasing USD from GBP? I would suggest having a call with our trading department. I expect Sterling to push higher towards the end of the summer months although for now the Pound will remain on the backfoot. We touched 1.31 although we’ve since had a reversal back towards the mid 1.32’s. It may be prudent to take some risk off the table at current levels and cover some on a SPOT basis. 

Sterling/Euro

Friday we have inflation data out of the Eurozone in the form of CPI (YoY) (Jun). Other than that it is a relatively light data week for the EUR. 

GBP/EUR has largely traded in a range from 1.13-1.1450 with 1.1450 being toppish after the move higher after the Bank of England. If you are looking to purchase EUR from GBP I would consider implementing a market order at 1.14 for a portion of your exposure whilst considering the 1.13 level as a floor. If you can achieve over 1.13 on SPOT I consider this a good level in the current climate. Please contact the trading department to discuss your individual requirements. 

If you are selling EUR to purchase Sterling take advantage of current levels. Historically, anything under 1.15 has been considered great value. Look at covering off a Forward Contract out for 6 months till end of year to mitigate your currency risk. Q1 next year/March/Brexit? Currency rates quite frankly could be anywhere dependent on how negotiations go. 

You can view the movements on Sterling/Euro on the graph below for last week – 

GBP/EUR - 1 Week

INSERT GBP/EUR GRAPH

If you have any questions please do let me know.

Have a fantastic week

Written by Liam Alexander

 

ACM Update Monday June 11th 2018

Wonders will never cease. An American President will sit down with a North Korean leader in Singapore on Tuesday. More surreal is the fact that Scotland beat England at cricket. Who knew Scotland had a cricket team! Did you know that the former Rangers, Manchester United and Scotland Goalkeeper Andy Goram is the only person to play in an international cricket match and an international football match. There we go readers (for those of you that are left after GDPR), you learn something every day!

The G7 Summit went well. Then it didn’t. Expect trade and tariff tensions to continue between President Trump and the G7 members and pretty much every other country for the foreseeable future. I doubt Justin Trudeau will be invited over to the White House for a BBQ this summer.

Turning our attention back to the UK, Sterling is under pressure. We had disappointing data out in the form of industrial and manufacturing production this morning in addition to the trade surplus widening. Cable (GBP/USD) has now retraced the recovery it made last week back below the 1.34 handle. We have a busy week on the data front with the ILO Unemployment rate (3M) (Apr) and average earnings out tomorrow. We also have inflation data out on Wednesday in the form of CPI (Consumer Price Index). I would expect us to show a slight uptick in inflation to 2.5% although most estimates are for a print of 2.4%. The weak pound has culminated in a drop in inflation this year although with oil prices heading higher there may be more of a conversation around the Bank of England raising interest rates in August. This may give Sterling a shot in the arm towards the end of the summer months. For now, I expect Sterling to remain on the backfoot. 

You can view recent price movements on Sterling/Dollar below – 

GBP/USD - 1 Week

If you hold USD consider converting some of these holdings back to Sterling on a SPOT basis or lock in some more on a Forward Contract. Do I expect GBP/USD to remain at these levels long-term? No. We will see Sterling/Dollar push higher with a test of 1.40 again at some point. If you look at things on a 10 year basis the average GBP/USD rate is a little over 1.52. Take advantage of the recent moves and lock in some Sterling. Please contact a member of the trading department for a rate of exchange. 

If you are a USD buyer from Sterling we have a raft of Dollar related activity this week in addition to the UK focused data. We have inflation data out of the US tomorrow followed by the Federal Reserve meeting on Wednesday. It is expected that interest rates will be raised by 25 bps to 2% from the current 1.75%. This will have been priced in by the market although the act of raising rates and any communication on future projections and the pace of future rises should be dollar supportive. If you need to purchase Dollars this week consider doing so prior to Wednesday on a SPOT basis. Feel free to contact me directly should you wish to discuss your individual requirements. 

Sterling/Euro

We have been trading in a tight range for what seems like an eternity. An asthmatic sloth moves more. However, the UK and ECB are likely to be more of a focus this week so we should see some movements. We have the ECB interest rate decision and policy statement and press conference this week. Whilst rates will be left on hold expect QE (Quantitative easing) and the potential end of the ECB’s bond-buying program to be discussed. The purchase of bonds will be phased out although will the end date be set at this meeting or in July? Should the ECB president Mario Draghi decide to wind down Bonds then it’s a signal to the market that the Eurozone is finally out of crisis. There is still a huge divergence between the ECB and the Federal Reserve which is reflected in the current EUR/USD rate. This move by Draghi may give the Euro a boost and drag it back above 1.20 the figure. What will this do to Sterling/Euro? It may push GBP/EUR slightly lower short-term. If you hold Euro’s and need to convert to Sterling please contact the trading department and discuss implementing a market order to take advantage of any intra-day movements in your favour. 

You can view the recent price movements on Sterling/Euro on the graph below – 

GBP/EUR - 1 Week

If you need to convert Sterling into Euro I would consider 1.14 the figure a target to lock in at. Yes, it isn’t great. However, in the current market this is looking mid to toppish at present. Give yourself a realistic price to work from and over the summer months we can look at averaging this up for you.

The FX landscape is open to rapid change due to how politics and economic policy are largely played out these days. Please make sure you have discussed a strategy with us to limit your downside risk whilst allowing yourself room to take advantage of any opportunities to the upside.

If you have any questions please let me know.

Have a fantastic week.

Written by Liam Alexander

ACM Update Wednesday 30th May 2018

Please allow me to open this week’s update by thanking you for still being here with us, for agreeing to continue to receive our musings and commentary on the currency markets. It struck me how relevant “Mama Mia”, Abba’s famous song is so relevant now in this time of Italian and Spanish tempest:

I’ve been cheated by you since you know when

So I made up my mind, it must come to an end

Look at me now, will I ever learn?

If you are reading this then you survived the GDPR deluge of emails shuffling up to you during the darkest hours and begging for you to continue to subscribe to the marketing and musings of websites and service providers you thought were long since gone. Thank you for sticking with us.

 

GBP/EUR

I don't know how but I suddenly lose control

There's a fire within my soul

Just one look and I can hear a bell ring

One more look and I forget everything, w-o-o-o-oh

This last week has been largely range bound but none the less exciting. Italy is at the centre of European attention. Remember what I wrote two weeks ago? Possibly not but we made it clear that Italy was going to be the epicentre for the next shockwaves to cross the European Union and here we are. The government’s program has been tamed but will likely result in a high deficit, which is worrying markets. The Italians do not feel that they have benefited from economic recovery and its not as if the Italian electorate enjoys the sound of silence. 

French President Emmanuel Macron has declared his support for a Cottarelli led technocratic government, saying President Mattarella had shown a “great spirit of responsibility” to “protect his country’s institutional and democratic stability”. It’s precisely this sort of statement that will anger the populists and wavering voters. The decision clearly is not democratic – the Italian President is preventing the formation of a government, which has a majority vote and a majority of seats. Protecting institutional stability will not resonate with voters who have a vague anger at “institutions” and “experts” already (does this sound familiar?). The fact it is coming from the French President, whom the Italians already see as subjugating Italian interests for those of France, will only exacerbate this further.

Spanish politics joined the list of worries. A Vote of No Confidence is tabled for Friday, and Ciudadanos say they will give Rajoy their vote, in order that they can engineer an orderly exit and new elections. The same threats to Spanish participation within the EU do not exist any thing like the same way as they do in Italy but make no mistake, we live in extraordinary times.

Mamma mia, here I go again

My my, how can I resist you?

Mamma mia, does it show again?

My my, just how much I've missed you

Yes, I've been broken hearted

Blue since the day we parted

Why, why did I ever let you go?

Mamma mia, now I really know,

My my, I could never let you go.

Spain’s opposition tabled a no-confidence motion after the ruling PP party was convicted of corruption. Euro flash PMI data came out mostly below expectations and implies that the slowdown extends well into the second quarter. The ECB Meeting Minutes reiterated the same cautious messages seen in the rate decision.

I've been angry and sad about things that you do

I can't count all the times that I've told you we're through

And when you go, when you slam the door

I think you know that you won't be away too long

Essentially it is all for the EUR to lose ground and GBP is simply treading water, still beleaguered by its own ongoing Brexit woes.

GBP/EUR movement can be seen on the graph below:

GBP/EUR - 1 Week

 

GBP/USD

You know that I'm not that strong.

Just one look and I can hear a bell ring

One more look and I forget everything, w-o-o-o-oh

While inflation dropped to 2.4% y/y, retail sales leaped by 1.6%, providing promises of a Spring comeback. Q1 GDP growth remained unchanged at 0.1% q/q. GBP/USD also depends on how the USD reacts as it enjoys safe haven flows. USD took advantage of fears related to global trade, in principal the US/China trade war, and the cancellation of the Kim-Trump Summit, which is itself either a masterful ballet of nuanced international relations or a pair of hippos with button related insecurities. The Fed confirmed a rate hike in June via its Meeting Minutes and whilst that will move the market it will likely be priced in when it comes.

GBP/USD movement can be seen on the graph below:

GBP/USD - 1 Week

 

EUR/USD

Mamma mia, here I go again

My my, how can I resist you?

Mamma mia, does it show again?

My my, just how much I've missed you

Yes, I've been broken hearted

Blue since the day we parted

In the US, the Fed minutes showed that the Fed will allow for somewhat higher inflation, but they cemented the likely June rate hike. USD also enjoyed the risk-off sentiment that is a result of trade fears. Trump’s decision to cancel the meeting with Kim Jong-un weighed on markets but had little impact on EUR/USD. 

US ADP Non-Farm Payrolls came out at 178K in May, lower than 190K expected. In addition, the figure for April was revised down from 204K to 163K. 15 minutes later, US GDP was revised down from 2.3% to 2.2%, also worse than expected. The Personal Consumption component dropped from 1.1% to 1%. All in all, the data came out below expectations, but the US Dollar appears to have just shrugged it off.

Why, why did I ever let you go?

Mamma mia, even if I say

Bye bye, leave me now or never

G.D.P.R, it's a game we play

Bye bye doesn't mean forever

 EUR/USD movement can be seen on the graph below:

EUR/USD - 1 Week

 

Not trading your currency is still a risk. The markets will move, volatility and relative values will vary but whatever your foreign currency exchange and international payment needs, you can rely on the team here at Aston Currency Management. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us, we look forward to hearing from you. Now, if you will excuse me, I have to move to our new offices on Savile Row.

Why, why did I ever let you go

Mamma mia, now I really know

My my, I could never let you go

Have a great week.

Written by Damien Lipman with an appropriate hat tip to Abba.

 

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ACM Update Wednesday 23rd May 2018

Brexit has cost average UK households at least £900, according to Bank of England governor Mark Carney. The central bank governor told MPs: "Real household incomes are about £900 lower than we forecast in 2016." Economists had previously estimated UK households would be £600 worse off. Carney drew criticism for his comments, in which he said the Brexit vote has lowered UK growth by up to 2%. The latest data from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has reported UK factory output slid to a two-year low in May. Ultimately for the UK, complications in Brexit negotiations and a weakening economy could continue weighing on GBP value.

GBP/USD

Cable has been under the cosh for another week, struggling with local data and the renewed strength of the USD. The week features the inflation report (today), speeches by Carney and Retail Sales data, both due out tomorrow, as the key events. GB data disappointed with far less shopping than expected in March with a drop of 1.2% was recorded in retail sales. This time, a bounce worth 0.8% is on the cards. Bad weather was associated with the downfall and the first full month of Spring could reveal if the downturn was only temporary.

UK wages rose by 2.6%, only slightly worse than 2.7% expected and the Claimant Count Change showed a jump in jobless claims, another worrying sign. USD resumed its gains, using upward revisions in the retail sales report to move higher. 

 GBP/USD movement can be seen on the graph below:

GBP/USD - 1 Week

GBP/EUR

The ONS reports annualised inflation reads at 2.4%, below consensus expectations for a reading of 2.5%. Monthly CPI data read at 0.4%, below the 0.5% forecast. Importantly for GBP, core CPI read at 2.1%, below the 2.2% forecast. The data is a negative for GBP which has given up the healthy gain on EUR, falling from a daily best at 1.1440 to 1.1378 at the time of writing. The BoE made it clear time and again, most recently via an appearance before Parliament, that it is watching data for guidance as to when next to raise interest rates, and rising interest rates tend to benefit GBP. However, the inflation rate has fallen back from a recent high of 2.8% during late 2017 resulting in the April 2018 figure being the lowest observed since January 2017.

Add the above to the never ending misery faced by Theresa May and her Brexit negotiators permanently facing wobble worse than me on small boat and the ensuing uncertainty we think the data could point towards the BoE opting to leave interest rates unchanged for a period of time to come. 

GBP/EUR movement can be seen on the graph below:

GBP/EUR - 1 Week

EUR/USD

EUR/USD had another largely negative week, falling to the lowest levels in 5 months. EUR/USD bounced back after hitting the new low on Monday but is now struggling again. Will it continue falling? PMI figures and the ECB meeting minutes (tomorrow) stand out but were not available as we went to print. Italy is still the principal cause for grave concern and ultimately instability, venting value for EUR. 

EUR/USD movement can be seen on the graph below:

EUR/USD - 1 Week

Not trading your currency is still a risk. The markets will move, volatility and relative values will vary but whatever your foreign currency exchange and international payment needs, you can rely on the team here at Aston Currency Management. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us, we look forward to hearing from you. Now, if you will excuse me, I have to prepare for more normal service to resume next week. Have a great week.

Written by Damien Lipman

 

 

 

ACM Update Wednesday 16th May 2018

Is it me or does it seem like there are very loud squawks from the hawks suggesting the world is heading towards war in the Middle East again? I’m sorry about the lack of humour this week but against all other advice and direction, including his own Secretary of Defence, Donal Trump announced his plans to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear agreement. Trump’s newly installed national security adviser, John Bolton, wrote an article a few years ago entitled “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran”. By withdrawing from the nuclear agreement, and making clear their goal of escalation, Trump and his administration seem to be creating their own excuse for doing exactly that and make no mistake, this is going to have global repercussions. 

The North Koreans have already expressed doubts on their own dealings with the US because of the “repugnance” they feel for Bolton. It is relevant to see what real effect the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem will have. There are already heavy condemnations coming from the UN and the international community over the deaths of so many Palestinians and observers. Incredibly USD seems to be benefiting in relative value.

GBP/USD

GBP/USD suffered further losses with no help from the Bank of England who left the rates unchanged and sent a cautious message. GBP/USD dropped below 1.3500 at one point on speculation that the BOE will stay where it is for some time to come. In the US, the dollar initially continued higher but eventually began retreating after inflation came out at 2.1% y/y against 2.2% expected. Has the dollar peaked? Nope! 

The jobs report has been the primary event of the week (yesterday). UK wage numbers came out as expected: 2.6% on the headline (down from 2.8%) and 2.9% when excluding bonuses (up from 2.8%). The as-expected figures mean that real wages are finally up after inflation had eroded them for quite some time. However, this was expected. The GBP/USD dropped ahead of the publication and reached a trough at below 1.347. Yet as the numbers came out, the pair slightly recovered. In the medium term we anticipate GBP to regain recent losses as the markets price in an August rate hike by the BoE. 

 GBP/USD movement can be seen on the graph below:

GBP/USD - 1 Week

 

GBP/EUR

The UK's employment rate has increased to 75.6% – the highest since records began in 1971. New stats from the ONS show there were 32.34 million people in work in the first quarter of the year, 396,000 more than a year ago. The data also shows average weekly earnings increased 2.9% compared with a year earlier. Once inflation is considered, this translates as a 0.4% increase, signalling that the year-long incomes squeeze may finally be over.

The story here is that whilst UK PM May met with backbenchers on Monday and was said to admit that negotiations are at an impasse, with neither of the current options for a customs deal able to work, it is Italy that shows signs of being Europe’s real problem. Apparently, a draft copy of the contract between Five Star and La Lega allegedly includes a plan to write off EUR 250bn in debt from the ECB. Whilst a joint statement suggests that this is an old plan which has been "extensively modified", it has still further spooked the markets and EUR value has suffered. 

Please mark our words here, Italy is likely to a volcano of destabilisation at the centre of Europe. Please don’t forget that the Italians have over USD 2.338trn of sovereign debt outstanding – the highest level of debt in Europe, six times the level of Greece, and the fourth largest debt in the world after US ($14.915trn), Japan ($9.544trn) and China ($4.305trn). In Euro terms, Italian debt stands at EUR 1.966trn – above France at EUR 1.948trn and Germany at EUR 1.647trn. Take from that what you will but we think it’s a bomba a orologeria!

GBP/EUR movement can be seen on the graph below:

 

EUR/USD

EUR/USD fell to new 2018 lows but managed to bounce after the US Dollar suffered its own disappointing data. GDP and inflation figures stand out as German factory orders fell by 0.9% and added to the misery, while the Eurozone’s largest economy’s industrial output rose by 1%, better than expected. The data is not impressive, but at least not all doom and gloom. In the US, inflation fell short of expectations with 2.1% on Core CPI and weighed heavily on the US Dollar. Fed Chair Powell and ECB President Draghi did not provide any news.

The pair fell into oversold conditions and may stabilize for another week. The flow of disappointing euro-zone data may come to a halt. US data has not been that great recently. Possibly some consolidation is likely after the big falls but as we have seen today the (relatively) big falls are not over yet. At the point of publishing we are heading towards lows not seen since December at 1.1789.

EUR/USD movement can be seen on the graph below:

EUR/USD - 1 Week

Not trading your currency is still a risk. The markets will move, volatility and relative values will vary but whatever your foreign currency exchange and international payment needs, you can rely on the team here at Aston Currency Management. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us, we look forward to hearing from you. Now, if you will excuse me, I have to prepare for a corporate retreat. Have a great week.

Written by Damien Lipman

 

 

 

ACM Update Monday 30th April 2018

A week is a long time in politics they say. It seems even longer in currency markets. We were trading close to 1.44 on Cable (Sterling/Dollar) just over a week ago and like the British weather, it has plummeted drastically. Will it be eternal darkness for Sterling for the rest of the year or will be able to get the Hawaiian tropics out at some stage?

Weak growth figures out of the UK last week has now increased the likelihood that the Bank of England will keep interest rates at 0.5% in May. Was the expectation of a rate rise by 25bps to 0.75% propping up Sterling? Now those waters are muddied will Sterling fall further? You can view the recent moves on Sterling/Dollar on the graph below – 

GBP/USD - 1 Week

If you have a requirement to sell USD and purchase GBP lock in these gains now. Please contact a member of the trading department for a SPOT or Forward rate. 

Might Cable (GBP/USD) take another tumble like an over pampered football player? Perhaps. However, as we have seen on the other side of the trade we were well above 1.40 not long ago and that now seems more a climb than a gentle stroll back up the hill.

With GDP figures coming in at 0.1% I don’t think we can solely blame the ‘Beast from the East’ (how these phrases become common parlance I have no idea). However, it did have an impact. Is there a deeper economic malaise set to become further ingrained now we’re getting down to the finer points of ‘Brexit’? Quite possibly. Please consider a more enhanced risk based approach around Sterling for the remainder of the year. Feel free to contact me directly or one of the trading team to discuss a strategy around your individual requirements. Whilst economic data out of the UK has been rather grim the political situation looks far from rosy. This is having an impact on Sterling too.

If you need to purchase USD from GBP please consider covering off some on SPOT to take out further downside risk and implement market orders to take advantage of any rallies in GBP/USD. Please contact the trading department to discuss technical levels.

This week we have the Federal Reserve Interest rate decision alongside the Monetary policy statement and Non-Farm payrolls (Apr). US wages and inflation are paving the way for an interest rate rise. I’d be surprised if anything changed this week although I expect them to give us the nod that a rate rise will happen over the summer months. This should boost the US Dollar further potentially dragging EUR/USD under 1.20 the figure and maintaining the downside pressure on Cable (GBP/USD). As always with the golden haired chap in the oval office, trade relations could deteriorate at any stage so the US dollar isn’t a one way bet.

Please make sure we have had a conversation prior to Wednesday on your USD requirements. 

Sterling/Euro

Please have a look at the graph below to view recent price movements. 

GBP/EUR - 1 Week

After trading over the 1.14 handle Sterling/Euro has since dropped further. Sterling is being weighed on Brexit concerns around the Irish border issue after EU negotiator Michel Barnier made some comments. This week we have preliminary GDP (QoQ) (Q1) and (YoY) (Q1) out of the Eurozone in addition to the Unemployment Rate (March). Preliminary inflation data in the form of CPI is released on Thursday from the Eurozone rounding off a rather light data week.

If you have a requirement to convert EUR/GBP please get in touch with the trading department and take advantage of the recent moves in your favour. There might be some further room to go in the move so consider implementing market orders to the downside. We’ve largely been trading in a range of 1.11 to 1.16 being toppish so you’re in a good position on SPOT at present.

Purchasing Euro’s? Can you afford for Sterling/Euro to test 1.10? In the current FX landscape anything is possible. Please do consider taking some risk off the table on SPOT whilst looking to take profit on orders on any rallies on GBP/EUR.

If you have any questions please do let me know.

Have a fantastic week

Written by Liam Alexander

ACM Update Tuesday 24th April 2018

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge gave us all something to smile about yesterday as the world welcomed their third child. Sunday saw the hottest day for a London marathon since records began and Prince Harry joked about the “organised chaos”. Speaking of which, whilst the world shifted its attention from US Stormy weather last week, all eyes were on Syria and GBP looked like it was well on its way to achieve levels not seen since before the Brexit vote. This week it is a different ball game altogether and if you have kept your eye on the proverbial, you will have noticed that EUR/CHF is just a tiny fraction off the 1.200 it was at before the Swiss cut their base rate in January 2015. The painful memory still lingers.

GBP/USD

Back to organised chaos and new numbers from the UK Office of National Statistics (ONS) show government borrowing decreased by £3.5bn to £42.6bn in the past financial year. The figures surprised analysts, who had been expecting borrowing to be £2.6bn higher. The Office for Budget Responsibility, which produces official government forecasts, expects the public sector to borrow £37.1bn over the next year – around a quarter of the amount it borrowed at the peak of the financial crisis. 

GBP/USD had risen to 1.4376 last week, the highest since June 2016, only to tumble around 400 pips from that high as I type this. The key event for this week is the first release of GDP for Q1 due out on Friday. If it disappoints or misses its mark, as much of the data returned last week did, it is likely to have a further negative impact on GBP.

 No matter what happens over the next week, if you need to move GBP to USD, or currencies pegged to USD, in your budgeting for the year, you may also wish to consider taking some of your risk off the table by fixing forward rates of exchange, at least for part of your exposure. Please contact one of the team to discuss mitigating risk for the remaining financial year.

GBP/USD movement can be seen on the graph below:

GBP/USD - 1 Week

GBP/EUR

According to the National Audit Office (NAO), Ministers said the Brexit settlement could cost Britain somewhere from £35bn to £39bn, which a report by the government’s financial watchdog labels as "reasonable", however, it suggests "relatively small changes in events" could push the cost of the settlement up. The NAO warns that the UK could pay an extra £3bn in budget contributions as well as £2.9bn more to the European Development Fund. All this amongst what appears to be the most intractable issue on the hard / soft border with Ireland. 

Please consider mitigating further downside risk to GBP value and possibly take a view with spot trades in the short term. The longer-term consensus view has moved away from GBP crashing, rather than just dropping, against its usual comparators. None the less, recent highs may be a good time to consider establishing market orders.

GBP/EUR movement can be seen on the graph below:

GBP/EUR - 1 Week

EUR/USD

If you were looking for some excitement in the form of volatility, then you have come to the right currency pair. The big focus for this week will be on Thursday for the ECB April meeting, although it will not release new forecasts and is unlikely to change interest rates. None the less, the press conference by Draghi is likely to influence EUR value. A focus on a potential slowdown may hurt, especially if he says it has immediate implications on monetary policy. Conversely, optimism on current growth rates may boost the EUR, preparing us for the next meeting in June, when the ECB may announce what happens after the current program, of buying EUR 30bn worth of bonds expires in September. 

EUR/USD has returned to the level last seen, briefly, at the end of February, today topping out at just over 1.221. Is there more to come? Lets be clear about this, Eurozone economies have been weighed, measured and many have been found wanting at a time when the US keeps surprising all with some positive numbers and a bearish Fed. To plan through a strategy for EUR/USD exposure please contact your relationship manager.

Euro movement against the Dollar can be seen on the graph below:

EUR/USD - 1 Week

Not trading your currency is still a risk. The markets will move, volatility and relative values will vary but whatever your foreign currency exchange and international payment needs, you can rely on the team here at Aston Currency Management. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us, we look forward to hearing from you. Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to have a flutter on baby names.

Have a great week.

Written by Damien Lipman

 

ACM Update Monday 16th April 2018

Sterling/Euro continues the ascendency. Will the upward trajectory continue or will it come crashing down to earth like a Z list celebrity’s diet and career?

You can view the movements on Sterling/Euro on the graph below -

GBP/EUR 1 Week

Sterling is finally taking a break from the emotion of Brexit related headlines. This should see price action move more on economic fundamentals once again. If you have a requirement to purchase Euro’s from GBP consider locking in some of the recent gains. Please contact the trading department for a rate of exchange to cover a percentage off on a SPOT basis.

Sterling is starting to break out of a range and I see GBP/EUR pushing slightly higher in upcoming trade. As detailed last week, the EUR had strong growth in 2017 although I don’t see that momentum continuing this year. Indeed, there will likely be more of a pronounced divergence in interest rates this year as the UK and US look set to raise rates further. This could see a slight downside bias and sell off of the Euro. In upcoming trade we have a sentiment survey out of Germany this week in the form of the ZEW survey. That is expected to have a negative bias. This will likely weigh on the single currency. To this end, consider implementing market orders to the upside to take advantage of any intraday movements. Please contact the trading department to discuss technical levels.

Sterling/Dollar

Cable (GBP/USD) has broken through 1.43 the figure.

You can view the movements on the graph below – 

GBP/USD - 1 Week

Dollar weakness has dragged the pair higher after a mixed Retail Sales report out of the US today. I expect this move to the upside to continue and a break above 1.44 looks likely. If you have a requirement to purchase some USD take advantage of the recent moves and take some risk off the table. We were trading under 1.40 not so long ago. The market has largely shrugged off many of the recent geopolitical tensions. However, this could of course change dramatically dependent on how things play out in the form of airstrikes, politics and sanctions. Feel free to contact the trading department or get in touch with me directly to discuss your upcoming requirements. 

If you have a requirement to sell USD look at giving yourself a price point to work form on a SPOT basis. I do think we’re going to push higher so if you can achieve under 1.45 look at locking that in. If we start to see GBP/USD retrace then take advantage of this move with a series of market orders. If you would like a member of the trading department to get in touch with you directly please let me know.

This week we have some key data out of the UK.  To kick things off, we have employment data out of the UK on Tuesday in the form of the ILO Unemployment Rate (3M) (Feb) and the Claimant Count Change and rate (March). We have inflation data out on Wednesday in the form of Consumer Price Index (YoY) (March). Consensus is for a print of 2.6%. I don’t expect us to be far off this so any market reaction around this is likely to be limited. Sterling, I believe, will continue to move higher with talk of the Bank of England (BoE) hiking rates next month.

Q2 is now firmly underway and the FX landscape is going to shift this year. Please make sure you have a strategy in place to mitigate your currency risk. 

If you have any questions please do let me know. 

Have a fantastic week

Written by Liam Alexander

ACM Update Monday 9th April 2018

Sterling has a lustre like the manicured lawns of Augusta, Georgia at present. Will Sterling continue to climb the leaderboard in Q2 or are we destined to end up in a bunker frantically trying to hack our way out?

Sterling/Dollar

Sterling/Dollar has a slight upside bias at present. We’re starting to look toppish at current levels though after the recent move higher. We had the NFP (Non-Farm Payroll) figures released on Friday and these disappointed to the downside. Expectations were for a print of 193k although the actual number came in at 103K. Cable (GBP/USD) edged higher on the back of the release although not in emphatic fashion. Yes, the figure was disappointing for March although the longer term trend of strong growth in the US remains.

If you have a requirement to purchase USD from Sterling consider covering off a portion of your exposure on a SPOT basis at current levels. Take advantage of the recent moves in your favour. Please contact the trading department for a rate of exchange.

You can view the recent movements on Cable (Sterling/Dollar) on the graph below –

GBP/USD - 1 WEEK

Sterling/Dollar is in a range at present and we’ll either break back below 1.40 and gradually push lower or we’ll break through 1.45. I think the UK and Sterling has weathered the majority of the Brexit ‘storm’ so far rather well. The downside risks may have been overplayed. We will have moves to the downside to manage although on an annual basis I expect Cable (GBP/USD) to finish trading around 1.45/1.46. If you can achieve over 1.40 as a price point to work from I would lock this in now to take some risk off the table. We can then work out a strategy with you utilising a mix of SPOT, Forward Contracts and Market Orders to try and achieve a higher average FX rate for the year. Please feel free to get in touch directly to discuss.

Whilst the UK has its part to play the US will have a large say in the direction the Dollar takes. Whilst consumer confidence in the US is at a 14 year high, factory orders are rising, employment figures and growth are strong and I expect the Federal Reserve to raise rates in May, there are some headwinds to dollar strength. Geo politics being the main one. Whilst the Dollar remains a global safe haven a continuing protectionist outlook from the US may give rise to a sell off in the dollar. Please make sure you have a strategy in place to mitigate currency risk. Doing nothing is speculating. This year will continue to be volatile and the FX landscape can shift extremely quickly.

Sterling/Euro

We’re now trading towards the top of the recent range. It wasn’t long ago we were in the 1.11’s. If you can achieve over 1.14 purchasing EUR from GBP I would consider taking advantage of the recent price movement. Please contact the trading department to lock in a SPOT trade.

You can view the recent moves in GBP/EUR on the graph below –

GBP/EUR - 1 Week

 

The Euro has been under pressure with EUR/USD coming off highs above 1.24 to trade in the 1.22s. Growth in the Eurozone has slowed markedly after the faster than expected pace of growth last year. Inflation remains well below the ECB (European Central Banks) target of 2%. In addition, there will be a more pronounced divergence in interest rates this year with the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve likely to raise rates. This should translate to a higher rate for both Sterling and the US Dollar against the Euro.

If you have a requirement to purchase Euros and have projections on your FX exposure for the remainder of 2018 please get in touch and we can put a plan in place to take advantage of moves in your favour.

Selling Euro’s? Decision time. Whilst we aren’t trading in the 1.11’s anymore rates are still competitive. My view is cover off some of your exposure now. There will be some dips with Brexit related news likely to weigh on Sterling from time to time so there will be opportunities to ‘average up’ your FX rate at certain times.

We have Mario Draghi, the ECB President, speaking on Wednesday. He will likely shape the direction of the Euro short term so think about covering off some of your requirements prior to this. Rounding off the week in terms of market events is the Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, speaking on Thursday. Should there be any hawkish language surrounding rates we should see Sterling benefit from this.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss a specific topic in more detail please feel free to get in touch.

Have a fantastic week

Written by Liam Alexander

ACM Update Monday 26th March 2018

The US Dollar is wobbling like a punch drunk boxer, reeling more from political blows than economic. Sterling/Dollar has sustained the recent upside move and is testing 1.42 the figure. Will we keep this momentum or will we retrace back below 1.40? GDP Q4 data out on Wednesday from the US will give us some direction this week.

Sterling gained last week on the back of the transition deal announcement with the EU. That should give Sterling some respite from Brexit related headlines for a while. The unemployment rate also fell back to 4.3% in the UK.

Sterling is going into Q2 on the front foot.

You can view the movements last week on Cable (Sterling/Dollar) on the graph below –

 GBP/USD - 1 Week

GBP/USD - 1 Week

If you have a USD requirement from Sterling do consider locking in some of the recent gains at current levels on a SPOT basis or a short-dated forward contract. As we so often say, doing nothing is speculating. Take some risk off the table. Please contact the trading department for rates of exchange.

Will the UK raise rates in May? Most likely. Will Sterling move higher against the US Dollar in Q2? We are at strong levels now although I do see us moving up to 1.43 with a potential test of 1.45 in May. Whilst I would suggest covering off a portion of your exposure now to take advantage of recent moves I would also leave some room to take advantage of any further upside.

Sterling is on a fairly strong footing at the moment having had better than expected Retail Sales last week in addition to good employment figures. Consider implementing market orders at 1.43/1.44 and 1.45 for Q2. To discuss technical levels to aim for please get in touch with the trading department and they can structure these orders for you.

The US Dollar is on the back foot despite the Federal Reserve raising rates by 25bps to 1.75% last week. The outlook for the US economy is positive although there is the small matter of a potential trade war with China giving a selling bias to the Dollar at present. It looks pretty ‘Stormy’ out there for the Dollar at the moment.

If you have a USD/GBP exposure can you afford the rate to potentially challenge 1.45 the figure? Take some risk off the table and give yourself a price point to work from. We can then discuss a specific strategy for you in Q2 to manage some of the undoubted turbulence that will be played out. Feel free to contact me directly to discuss in more detail.

Sterling/Euro

We challenged the dizzying heights of 1.15 last week after a strong move to the upside.

You can view the movements on the graph below –

GBP/EUR - 1 Week

We have given up some of the gains and we’re now trading in a tight range. I don’t expect too much volatility this week heading into the Easter break as we have limited data releases.

If you need to purchase EUR from GBP lock in some of the gains. We were trading in the 1.11’s not too long ago. Is there room to push higher? We will need to see a sustained break above the 1.15 level to justify any strong upside bias. Please contact the trading department for a SPOT rate.

Selling Euro’s? Whilst historically you are still at competitive levels consider market orders around 1.1450/1.14 to take advantage of any retracement of last week’s move.

We have a fairly quiet week on the data front. Q4 GDP figures out of the US will be the release most investors and traders look for this week.

If you have any questions please do get in touch.

Have a fantastic week.

Written by Liam Alexander

ACM Update Tuesday 20th March 2018

Where do I even begin this week’s report!? We have suspected Russian involvement in the poisoning of a former spy, his daughter, a policeman and other members of the British public, just before an apparent 76% percent victory for Russia’s long serving President (and occasional Prime Minister). This is amid multiple claims of ballot fraud and irregularities from the independent election monitoring group Golos and others, but no one seems to take much notice. We have also had a revolving door to the HR department at the Whitehouse and amidst all of that the UK actually agreed with the EU on the Brexit transition period, triggering a reasonably dramatic increase in the value of GBP against both EUR and USD.

I am going to format the report slightly differently:

Question: Have you ever heard of a political risk gauge called the Geopolitical Risk Index (GPR Index)?

Answer: It is a tool that helps to make some sense of the “Not Normal” that is going on around us and is often cited by policy-makers, investors, and media as one of the key determinants of economic decisions. The GPR Index is a unit of measure to indicate the frequency of articles from leading media outlets (mostly newspapers) discussing increased tension between states, wars, terrorism and other negative events.

High GPR induces adverse effects on US employment and trade, a drop in US stock market, a decline in real activity and stock prices in other advanced economies. It brings about capital outflows from emerging economies to safe havens. Recent peaks in the GPR Index have included Isis escalation in 2014, the Paris attacks in 2015 and raised tensions due to the nuclear threat posed by North Korea in 2017. Last week the GPR Index hit its highest point since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

This is Saxo Bank’s representation of the GPR Index, published by Ole Hansen:

I realise by now that you may be wondering what has any of this got to do with relative currency values and what you need to know in order to better time your trades and mitigate your currency risk exposure. We are getting there. Its all about who carries the most risk and how that transfers to relative value.  What has caused the spike in the GPR Index last week?

The threat of trade war.

Trade war brings huge political uncertainty and has been Trump’s favourite topic of conversation, besides seemingly shouting “You’re fired!” at almost everyone except his daughter Ivanka.  Several strategists have made the case that the asset bearing the brunt of political uncertainty, not to mention the implications of a full-blown trade war sparked by tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, is the USD. U.S. stocks enjoyed a stellar year whilst the USD, as measured by the ICE USD Index, lost 10% of its value gauged against a half-dozen rivals, including the EUR and JPY.

Could this now be prescribing USD weakness and continued decline in the coming months?

We never profess to have a crystal ball but certainly there might be a significant argument for looking at mitigating further downside risk to USD exposure.

 GBP/USD movement can be seen on the graph below:

GBP/USD - 1 Week

GBP/EUR

After yesterday’s pleasant surprise for GBP value increase against the EUR, Thursday will be the next main event with the EU Summit taking place. The leaders of the European Union convene to discuss various matters and Brexit leads the agenda. Will they make progress on trade, the rights of citizens, and the Irish border? Finalizing the transition deal is the key event and Ireland is high on the agenda. The UK wants to be out of the Customs Union but with no customs checks between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. This circle will be hard to square. A breakup of talks could weigh on the GBP.

On Friday we will receive the Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin. This is, frankly, likely to move the markets. Clients wanting to take advantage of the value spike for GBP may wish to consider getting in touch with us and covering requirements with spot trades for now or fixing forward rates for the near future.

GBP/EUR movement can be seen on the graph below:

GBP/EUR - 1 Week

EUR/USD

The pair traded in a narrow range and eventually ended the week lower once again. There is not much to be said that is positive for either side yet. EUR suffers from fears that growth has peaked while the Fed may not be as hawkish as some expect. If anything is going to make a dramatic difference over the coming week it is not an expected event.

EUR/USD movement, or the lack of it, can be seen on the graph below:

EUR/USD - 1 Week

Not trading your currency is still a risk. The markets will move, volatility and relative values will vary but whatever your foreign currency exchange and international payment needs, you can rely on the team here at Aston Currency Management. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us, we look forward to hearing from you. Now, if you will excuse me, I have to find my Terms and Conditions for Facebook. Have a great week.

Written by Damien Lipman

ACM Update Monday 12th March 2018

Sterling’s battle with the Euro continues. Whilst it isn’t quite as venomous as the frightening scenes at the Crufts dog show yesterday, there remains a battle to stamp some authority and create sustained momentum.  

Will Sterling recover some ground against the Euro this week? After hitting lows around 1.1150 we had a rebound towards the end of the week with a jump back above 1.12. We have since broken through 1.1250. You can view the moves on the graph below –

GBP/EUR - 1 Week

I expect Sterling/Euro to move back into the 1.13’s this week. The Euro remains on the backfoot after the ECB meeting where rates were kept on hold and QE remained unchanged. I expect attention to move to Sterling this week after the Italian election, German vote and ECB meeting put the Euro front and centre.

If you have a requirement to purchase Euro’s from Sterling consider placing market orders at 1.13 to take advantage of any intraday moves to the upside. Please contact a member of the trading department to implement an order. The key event this month for Sterling is the EU summit on 22nd-23rd March in Brussels. If there is no transition deal in place this will create further uncertainty. Take some risk off the table and look at covering off any positions prior to this event.

Sterling has weathered the Brexit noise relatively well recently and isn’t moved by it. Sterling is being largely traded on economic realities at present. Is the UK economy swinging from the rafters compared to other EU economies? No. Is the UK economy improving? Yes. Will Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, say anything riveting or implement any new policies tomorrow? Unlikely. What he will communicate is that productivity and public finances have improved with borrowing less than expected for the fiscal year. I expect a short-term bounce in GBP tomorrow. Please contact the trading department to discuss technical levels should you have a requirement for Euro’s from Sterling.

If you need to convert Euro’s back to Sterling consider covering off a large proportion of your requirements at current levels on SPOT. We have traded over 1.14 recently so if you can achieve anything around or under 1.13 I would consider this a good level to secure. Might we fall further? Yes. However, look at things on a historical basis. Trading at 1.20/0.833 – 1.25/0.80 on GBP/EUR or the inverse EUR/GBP used to be considered ‘fair value’.  

Please contact the trading department to discuss your individual requirements.

Sterling/Dollar

I expect Cable (GBP/USD) to push back above 1.40 the figure. If you are holding USD and need Sterling look at securing at current levels. Today there isn’t much data out so I expect trading to be range bound. Please contact the trading department for pricing. We had the NFP (Non-Farm Payroll) figure released on Friday that massively smashed expectations of a forecast of 200K with a print of 313K. However, the Dollar didn’t gain too much impetus with some of the details within the report on wage growth raising some questions around inflation.

Please do consider utilising market orders to execute at 1.40 if you have some upcoming USD requirements from GBP. Should we break through this psychological level then we can discuss ‘averaging up’ your FX rate in Q2.

You can view recent movements on Sterling/Dollar on the graph below –

GBP/USD - 1 Week

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me directly.

Have a fantastic week.

Written by Liam Alexander

ACM Update Monday 5th March 2018

Sterling took a bit of a beating last week on Brexit related news. Sterling/Euro declined and printed under 1.12. However, politics in Europe may come to Sterling’s rescue this week. Arsene Wenger may not be so lucky.

Brexit chatter is likely to take a breath with Europe being the markets focus as well as President Trump. Merkel begins her fourth term as German Chancellor after near 6 months of uncertainty. The Italians went to the polls yesterday and a hung parliament was announced. The populist movement continues it seems. This has led to the Euro being on the backfoot. EUR/USD is trading under 1.23 the figure. President Trump has announced tariffs on steel and aluminum imports so expect the phrase ‘trade wars’ to dominate headlines this week.

You can view movements on Sterling/Euro on the graph below – 

GBP/EUR - 1 Week

The main event for the Euro this week will be the ECB meeting on Thursday. Headlines will be on Italy although this will have limited impact until the dust settles and alliances are formed. Mario Draghi, the ECB President, is likely to signal that easing will continue for the foreseeable future. Inflation is running below target and the ongoing strength of the Euro isn’t helping. Interest rates will be kept on hold so the press conference will be the focus on Thursday. Are the ECB happy with the current strength of the Euro? Will they look to talk it down? I expect the Euro to come under some pressure this week.

If you are holding GBP and need to convert into Euro please contact the trading department to implement market orders. I expect a move higher so make sure you have discussed technical levels with the trading team to achieve the best rate at the best possible time. 

We have had Markit Services PMI (Feb) out of the UK this morning with a print of 54.5 against a consensus estimate of 53.3. Sterling has had a jump on the back of the release. Out of the UK this week we have MPC member Andrew Haldane speaking so any comments around Brexit may shift Sterling. Please make sure you have a strategy in place this week to protect against any adverse movements.

Sterling/Dollar

We have moved back below 1.40. 

You can view movements on the graph below –

GBP/USD 1 Week

If you hold USD you should consider locking in a significant amount of GBP at current levels. Might we move lower? Possibly. However, we have been over 1.42 in recent trade so I would look at taking advantage of the retracement lower. Please contact the trading department for a SPOT rate or to lock in some GBP on a Forward Contract.

Cable (GBP/USD) is likely to have a short-term rebound so as detailed above consider acting on converting USD/GBP before we move higher. Sterling has ticked higher on the back of PMI figures out this morning already. Might we move back to 1.40 the figure this week? Quite possibly. We have a number of data releases out of the US this week on top of Donald Trump ‘making America great again’ by instigating a potential international trade war. The main release for the US Dollar will be the NFP (Non-Farm payroll) figure on Friday. Consensus estimates for the figure is for 200K. Anything above this figure may give the Dollar a further shot in the arm. Anything below this number and we may see the Dollar lose ground. Please make sure you have a strategy in place for this week to mitigate your currency risk.

Any questions please do let me know.

Have a fantastic week.

Written by Liam Alexander

ACM Update Wednesday 28th February 2018

Please allow me the opportunity to apologise for the fact that this report is a little later than usual… Mia culpa! I don’t know if you have noticed but apparently its snowing and we have all been hit by the “Beast from the East”. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. The Slipstream wind and weather system has carried out a “crazy Ivan” manoeuvre and now we are suffering some of the worst temperature drops in recent history. Of course, the currency hobbits here at ACM have remained stoic in the face of the chilly onslaught. Its too cold to type in the Sales Team igloo so I will keep this brief.

GBP/USD

Last week we discovered that the UK suffered an increase in unemployment during Q4 2017 but wages (not including bonuses) rose by 2.5%. This information caused GBP to suffer a fall against USD and put the wind up a few investors, fearful that an increase in unemployment could reduce the anticipated interest rate rise in May.

This week the focus came yesterday as Jerome Powell gave his first testimony to Congress on the economy and monetary policy and US GDP figures are released later. The US is currently riding high on wage growth and expectations of an increase in interest rates is calling yet again.

GBP struggled to break beyond the 1.40 level until Monday this week and looks unlikely to do anything dramatic (famous last words). A lot will also ride on Theresa May’s speech on Friday. More on that below.

GBP/USD movement can be seen on the graph below:

GBP/USD - 1 Week

GBP/EUR

Our Prime Minister is set to deliver a keynote speech about the future trade relations, that her government wishes to have with the European Union on Friday, following a cosy weekend at Chequers. Generally speaking, the markets would prefer a continued membership in the Single Market and the Customs Union, but the hard-Brexiteers would prefer a looser relationship. Frankly, as one commentator put it, “Europe is skipping into a federal utopia with Macron, whereas the UK is now starting to appear a little desperate to get into bed with both China and the US. If there were some reasons to stay in the European Union, it would only be for the sake of the kids in the City. After all the acrimony of Brexit, all the romance has gone.” 

May’s speech should help clarify the direction of the government but be ready for GBP to not only move on the speech but also on the reaction by the European Union. A warm welcome would be positive while a rejection of May’s proposals would weigh on GBP value. In truth I think the reaction maybe a little flaccid from GBP.

As an interesting aside, Mark Carney, The Governor of the Bank of England, will speak at the Scottish Economics Conference in Edinburgh and his topic is cryptocurrencies. #justsaying

You may wish to consider setting EUR market orders for an anticipated down turn for GBP value on Friday. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with the team to discuss this.

GBP/EUR movement can be seen on the graph below:

GBP/EUR - 1 Week

EUR/USD

EUR/USD had a more moderate week, ending on lower ground. Will it continue falling or is it only a correction? A speech by Draghi and inflation figures are in the limelight. Both the IFO and ZEW German business surveys disappointed and so did Euro-zone PMIs. The forward-looking figures still point to growth though. In the US, the FOMC Meeting Minutes showed a relatively hawkish stance, boosting USD and setting the tone for the week. The greenback’s recovery continued, but the move is somewhat cautious.

EUR/USD dropped following Powells testimony. Clients looking to mitigate further downside risk may wish to consider locking in a spot rate now.

 

Euro movement against the Dollar can be seen on the graph below:

EUR/USD - 1 Week

Not trading your currency is still a risk. The markets will move, volatility and relative values will vary but whatever your foreign currency exchange and international payment needs, you can rely on the team here at Aston Currency Management. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us, we look forward to hearing from you. Now, if you will excuse me, I have to check on my huskies and prep my sled. Have a great week.

Written by Damien Lipman

ACM Update Tuesday February 20th 2018

EUR/USD has come off recent highs and retraced back to around 1.2340. Will the phrase “don’t count your chickens” apply to Sterling after it has pushed higher against the Euro? Much like the aficionado’s of KFC this week I guess. 

Sterling/Euro

Sterling has gained some ground against the Euro at the start of this week. We moved back to the 1.12s last week and those that had a Euro exposure back to GBP did well to lock in at those levels. As mentioned before, GBP/EUR is relatively range bound from 1.12-1.15. Could things move out of this range? I hope so. If we’re stuck between 1.12-1.15 from now until the end of eternity things will be exceedingly dull.

You can view the movements on GBP/EUR last week to this morning on the graph below –

GBPEUR.png

Where will GBP/EUR go from here? It will move higher short-term. If you have a requirement to convert Sterling into Euro this week I would consider implementing market orders. This will allow you to achieve the best rate at the best possible time. Please contact the trading department to discuss technical levels.

I do expect Sterling to give up its recent gains against the Euro by the end of Q1. The March meeting between the UK and EU will be key and I expect negotiations to start in earnest. Up until now it has been a warm up. Short-term, on the data front, we have Unemployment figures out of the UK on Wednesday. Expectations are for a print of 4.3%. Should we see a better than expected figure then we may see GBP gain further ground. We also have the release of GDP figures for Q4 from the UK on Thursday.

If you need to purchase Euros from GBP consider locking in some of the recent gains on SPOT or a short-dated Forward Contract.

Sterling/Dollar

We have been flirting with 1.40 the figure for a while now. There is no real momentum in either direction on Cable (GBP/USD). We moved above 1.41 although that was where traders decided to take some profit. We have since retraced back under the 1.40 level. If you have a requirement to purchase USD from Sterling please do consider implementing a market order to execute at 1.40. This gives you a price point to work from. Unless you are enthralled by watching rates on a screen all day then place an order in the market and leave us to do that for you. Could we move back to 1.42/1.43? Absolutely. However, as I always say doing nothing is speculating. Take some risk off the table, give yourself a level to work from and we can then work out an ongoing strategy for you. This may be a simple 40/40/20 structure where we cover off 40% on SPOT, 40% on a Forward Contract and the remaining 20% on market orders.

Sterling/Dollar has been tumbling around like a person strapped into a gurney hurtling face first down some ice or as it is passionately known in winter sports, the Skeleton.

You can view the movement on Cable (GBP/USD) on the graph below –

GBPUSD.png

If you have a requirement to move USD back to GBP and can achieve under the 1.40 level I would consider locking in a sizeable amount at that level. Please contact the trading department to discuss timing and rates of exchange. We have FOMC minutes released from the US on Wednesday this week where interest rates and the speed and number of rate increases will be keenly watched by market participants. I would expect another bout of USD strength so do make sure you have discussed a strategy with us for your currency requirements.

If you have any questions please do let me know.

Have a great week.

Written by Liam Alexander

ACM Update Monday February 12th

The winter Olympics are underway. Sterling and the UK on ‘Brexit’ is mirroring the Luge. Hurtling downhill, strapped in for dear life, ‘skillfully’ manouevring the corners whilst hoping to come to a smooth standstill rather than crashing like the Jamaican bobsleigh team in the movie Cool Runnings. We will see how the UK/EU movie plays out this year.

Sterling rallied higher against the US Dollar and Euro last week on the back of the Bank of England’s ‘Super Thursday’. (It sounds like an offer from a 1980’s supermarket but never mind we’ll need to live with the phrase). As expected, interest rates were kept on hold at 0.5%. Sterling jumped across the board on growth forecasts for 2018 being revised higher to 1.8% from 1.7% and more importantly on expectations that interest rates will rise quicker than previously expected.

 

GBP/USD

Sterling moved back above 1.40 the figure on the back of the Bank of England. With politics and profit taking being key Sterling has given up the gains it made and moved lower.

You can view the recent movements on the graph below –

GBP/USD 1 Week

If you are holding USD please consider locking in some of the move lower. Might Cable (GBP/USD) push lower? Of course. However, we’ve been over 1.42 so if you can achieve under 1.40 the figure to convert USD into GBP it may be prudent to do so. Please contact a member of the trading department for a rate of exchange. If you think we’ll see GBP push lower discuss technical levels with the trading team to implement market orders to help you achieve the best rate at the best possible time.

We had a lot of volatility last week so this week we may see some range bound trading. As always, ‘Brexit’, Theresa May and political posturing can always act as a headwind for Sterling so make sure you have discussed a strategy with us for your exposure out till the end of Q1.  The main data out of the UK this week is Retail Sales (Jan) that is released on Friday. Other than that, we have inflation data out in the form CPI (YoY) (Jan) tomorrow where expectations are for a print of 2.9%.

Do you need to purchase USD from Sterling? Consider placing market orders to the upside should Sterling benefit this week. Please contact a member of the trading department to discuss.

 

GBP/EUR

We moved back over 1.14 the figure last week. Since then we’ve gradually traded lower. As stated at the start of the year I see Sterling moving lower against the Euro for Q1. We are trading in a range of 1.11 with 1.15 being toppish. Should we break out of this range to the downside then the 1.10 level opens up again. For now, I think we’re going to stick in the 1.11-1.15 range. Therefore, timing your transactions is key. If you are buying Euro’s from GBP get in touch and we can discuss your timeline on when you need to trade and put in place orders to take advantage of moves in your favour on an intraday basis.

We will see some dips on GBP/EUR with ongoing comments in the Brexit negotiations likely to weigh on Sterling rather than give it any impetus. EUR/USD has retreated from around the 1.25 figure with EUR long positions being cut. Could we see EUR/USD make another move higher against the Dollar? Quite possibly. That in turn could add further weight to a downside move in GBP/EUR.

You can view the recent movements on Sterling/Euro on the graph below –

GBP/EUR 1 Week

As mentioned earlier it is a relatively light data week. Please get in touch to make sure you have a strategy in place for your currency requirements as the landscape can change rather quickly.

If you have any questions please do let me know.

Have a fantastic week.

Written by Liam Alexander

ACM Update Tuesday 6th February 2018

Two great symbols of American culture fought it out on Sunday night in the ultimate contest of strength, agility and mental acuity when one of the Kardashians announced that another one of the Kardashians was pregnant and won the Superbowl. Well played Kris Jenner, displaying a greater grasp of media manipulation than anyone from the Trump administration can even fathom.

Theresa May faces yet another looming spectre of malcontent amongst her government as our comedic Foreign Secretary BoJo and cohorts Gove and Rees-Mogg are lauded as a “dream team” by Brexiteers hell bent on leaving the customs union. Global stock markets are falling in what many are calling an obvious and natural correction whilst crypto currency values are also suffering from what appears to be a pre-Valentines sell off. No one can say that the last 10 days have been boring!

GBP/USD

This week The Bank of England is expected to leave the interest rate unchanged at 0.50% after hiking it to its current level in November. However, they will likely move the market. In addition to the decision and the meeting minutes, the BOE will also publish the Quarterly Inflation Report, which contains a wider assessment of the economy and the path of inflation. This “Super Thursday” can be upgraded to “mega” with the publication of the Inflation Letter. Governor Mark Carney is obliged to send an open letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Phillip Hammond, and explain why inflation breached the 1-3% range. This happened for a limited time and inflation is expected to fall. None the less, any deviation from a unanimous vote to leave rates unchanged will stir the pound. Afterwards, the assessment of the economy and more importantly, inflation, will have its say. Watch this space but don’t count your GBP chickens as Brexit negotiations maybe causing UK PM Theresa May more trauma and the US jobs report has not been fully priced in to value yet.

GBP appears to be nose diving again, certainly it has lost USD 4.20 since the beginning of the month  and looks to be on a clear trajectory. Clients selling USD requirements might wish to take advantage of the recent moves by securing funds with a series of spot and forward contracts. By all means, please get in touch with one of trading team to make these arrangements.

You can see the movement on GBP/USD from last week to this morning on the graph below:

GBP/USD 1 Week

GBP/EUR

Interesting points to watch for include tomorrow when Germany releases industrial production figures which reported a rise in November, by a surprisingly strong 3.4%. Probably the same again here but with a downwards correction forecast of 0.4%. France will release their trade balance tomorrow. The continent’s second-largest economy has chronic trade deficits. The deficit widened to EUR 5.7 bn in November. A narrower deficit of EUR 4.8 bn is on the cards now. Germany to the rescue again as contrary to France, Germany has a very wide trade surplus, buoying EUR. After enjoying a surplus of 22.3 billion in November, a drop to 20.4 billion is on the cards now.

On Friday the UK announces its trade balance and Britain has a trade deficit that has widened since the EU Referendum. A deficit of GBP 12.2 bn was recorded in November although, a reduction to GBP 11.5 bn is predicted now. Clients selling GBP may want to hedge further downside risks by securing funds on spot or forward contracts before Thursday morning.

You can see the movements on GBP/EUR on the graph below:

GBP/EUR 1 Week

EUR/USD

EUR/USD managed to edge a bit higher but it certainly wasn’t easy last week where we saw USD attempt to recover. This week features a testimony from ECB President Draghi and a mix of many economic indicators. Headlines included core inflation finally ticking up back to 1% y/y but that was expected. In the US, the jobs report came out above expectations, 200K jobs gained and wages rising 2.9% y/y. It came on top of a slightly more hawkish Fed decision and helped the USD in its recovery attempts, which were certainly met with resistance by EUR, although it seems to continue to lose ground.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us to discuss any of the strategies we can provide you with to help mitigate downside risk on all of your currency exposure.

You can see the movements on EUR/USD on the graph below:

EUR/USD 1 Week

Not trading your currency is still a risk. The markets will move, volatility and relative values will vary but whatever your foreign currency exchange and international payment needs, you can rely on the team here at Aston Currency Management. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us, we look forward to hearing from you. Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to try and catch up on the Six Nations in the hope that no reality TV people will give the game away. Have a great week.

Written by Damien Lipman