Sing a song of six pence, in Jamaica you can get a steak and kidney pie for the exchanged equivalent of £1.75, a chicken and mushroom pie for £1.60 and an apple pie for £2.15. In St Kitts and Nevis a steak and kidney pie will cost you £2, and a cherry pie can be yours for the equivalent of £1.95. In Trinidad and Tobago, that steak and kidney pie comes in at £2.50, but you can get two for £3.50. Their apple pies and cherry pies are often sold for £2.75, with a combination of any two going for £4.75. Mince Pies are largely unavailable, except by private arrangement and imported from London and Brighton. Those, ladies and gentlemen, are the Pie Rates of the Caribbean (with thanks to Graham Williams) and so begins our week.

GBP/USD

I was going to lead with something on the G20 but opted for a short moment of mirth, now we must get back to business as GBP has continued its dive since last Friday morning. An early sell off in Asia (again) this morning continues what appears to be the realities of Brexit woes coming home to roost like four and twenty black birds. All three PMIs reported softer growth for the UK in May so Mrs May has made a (potentially desperate) bid to the Labour leadership to rally with her towards the negotiations with the remainder of the EU. In the US, there was mixed news on the employment front, as Nonfarm Payrolls rebounded to 222k but wage growth remained weak.

Whilst the UK shows signs of flagging, the Fed is on record that it intends to raise interest rates a third time in 2017, even though the markets have their doubts, as inflation remains weak and second quarter numbers in the US have not exactly been baked in a pie. If you are planning on buying USD you may want to fix a forward contract to guarantee the rate of exchange later in the year as Sterling/Dollar may well move lower.

GBP/EUR

We have already seen the market open this morning at a crust over 1.13 and continues to blip around the same level. Poor manufacturing data released on Friday, reminded us that data still has the power to influence moves in a currency pair that has suffered more from politics than anything else for some time now. Employment data out on Wednesday will be looking for wage growth if GBP is to have any revival. Anything below 1.8% will mean bad things for Stirling as confirmation of inflation wearing away the benefits of earnings. To be fair, the writing is on the wall for GBP this week and in the UK we may yet have to suffer more humble pie.

With a downward trend the most likely for GBP, you might want to consider de-risking your outlook for EUR and trading at spot rates as early in the week as possible. For EUR sellers the end of day figures are the most relevant and will provide some indication of how far the assault on GBP will go. Placing a market order would help us to help you hit your target pricing.

EUR/USD

This currency pair has begun this week much the same as it ended last week, hovering around or just below the 1.14, shedding almost half the gains made last week. The ECB continues to try to balance the view, but sometimes confuses markets. An ECB official said that tapering has not (yet) been discussed, sending EUR down. Later, the ECB meeting minutes showed that they had considered removing the easing bias, allowing for a recovery. German retail sales beat expectations while factory orders disappointed. PMIs were mostly positive. In the US, the Fed is also split around the timing of the balance sheet reduction as doubts about the third hike in 2017 persist.

Germany (the economic powerhouse of the Eurozone) releases trade balance figures today and is likely to show an increase in the already huge trade surplus, like a pocket full of rye, for the month of May. This is likely to lead to a commensurate trade balance announcement from the ECB on Friday. Timing your transactions is key. Please contact me or a member of the trading team to discuss your upcoming requirements in detail.

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 are, 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 help the maid find her nose. Have a great week.

Written by Damien Lipman