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Volatile week expected in currency markets due to LIBOR scandal

Published:  02 July, 2012

Volatility is expected in the markets this week on the back of The Barclay's Bank LIBOR manipulation scandal, which has sent shock waves through the financial sector.

Currency rates July 2

EURO/GBP - 1.2404
US$/GBP - 1.5665
CHF/GBP - 1.4901
CAN$/GBP - 1.5953
AUS$/GBP - 1.5324
ZAR/GBP - 12.8055
JPY/GBP - 124.71
HKD/GBP - 12.1468
NZD/GBP - 1.9534
SEK/GBP - 10.8702
AED/GBP - 5.6475
US$/EURO - 1.2620
INR/GBP - 87.37

Sterling had a poor day on Friday weakening against the majority of currencies and only strengthening against the safe haven currencies as risk aversion returned to the market following announcements made at the EU economic summit. The Barclay's Bank LIBOR manipulation scandal and the fact that several other banks are also expected to have been involved has weighed on investors' confidence in the banks, the financial services and the UK. The Bank of England meets this week for its monthly vote on monetary policy. The market expects that the Monetary Policy Committee will vote to keep interest rates on hold at 0.5% and increase quantitative easing by £50 billion in attempt to help the UK's economy in these uncertain times. Other data out this week includes the manufacturing, construction and services Purchasing Managers' Indices (PMI) and figures showing the change in the price of goods and raw materials purchased by manufacturers.

The euro performed well on Friday due to renewed confidence in the euro zone following the measures the EU economic summit put forward to recapitalize banks directly providing relief for sovereign debt yields and a growth pact of €120 billion. On the data front, worse than expected German retail sales data was released; but, it h ad very little effect on the market. This week the bench mark 10 year Spanish bond auction will highlight the confidence, or lack of confidence, investors' have in the nation. The key event though seems to be the European Central Bank interest rate decision which is set to be a key market mover. At present, the markets anticipate the central bank to cut interest rates by 25bps to 0.75%, if this happens; or, if a different decision is made it could cause a lot of volatility in the market.

The US dollar was particularly weak on Friday as risk appetite was the main driver in the market once more. Data released showed that personal spending and personal income figures had missed economist's estimates. This week, PMI data is released as well as a raft of employment data including the highly influential Non-Farm pay rolls employment figures released on Friday.

Elsewhere, the commodity backed currencies performed well on Friday with the Australian dollar particularly strong as investors sought to buy riskier assets with more confidence in the global markets. Canadian GDP data released was better than expected with figures showing growth of 0.3%. This week, releases from Switzerland include retail sales, foreign currency reserves and inflation data. The Australian interest rate decision will be announced as well as trade balance figures and retail sales data. Canadian building permits, employment data and PMI figures will also be released.