Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

A volatile week for sterling

Published:  24 January, 2011

Sterling finished slightly stronger against the US dollar on Friday after following the euro higher against the US currency.

Currency rates
EURO/GBP - 1.1741
US$/GBP - 1.5951
CHF/GBP - 1.5332
CAN$/GBP - 1.5865
AUS$/GBP - 1.6103
ZAR/GBP - 11.2750
JPY/GBP - 132.20
HKD/GBP - 12.4377
NZD/GBP - 2.1062
SEK/GBP - 10.5263
US$/EURO - 1.3583

It was a volatile week for sterling after much higher than expected interest rates heightened expectations for a sooner than anticipated hike in UK interest rates. This saw sterling hit a high of $1.6060/£1, however a poor set of fundamental figures - including a 0.8% drop in retail sales for December on Friday - saw the sheen taken off analyst's expectations for an interest rate rise. Retail sales were expected to fall as a result of December's inclement weather, but not by as much as they did. It is a very important week for sterling, with preliminary GDP for the 4th Quarter of last year and the minutes from the most recent Bank of England meeting. The minutes will be very closely watched for any sign of a change in monetary policy.

In the euro zone, the euro hit a 2 month high against the US dollar - breaking above the $1.36/€1 level - as market anxiety over the euro zone debt crisis started to ease. Strong debt auctions from Portugal and Spain and warnings over higher inflation in the region have helped to reduce panic over a systemic collapse. However, Sunday's events in Ireland could yet test this. Ireland's Green party withdrew from the coalition government to end a weekend that saw Prime Minister Brian Cowen step down from his party's leadership but stay on until key budget legislation is passed that was a key requirement of the recent EU bailout. The move by the greens paves the way for a March 11 election - we shall have to see how this pans out for the euro this week.

In the USA, it was a good week for data with the claimant count dropping and new home sales jumping unexpectedly. Fundamental figures have been improving, but the Federal Reserve is not expected to make any changes to current monetary policy. The Fed meets this week, and is expected to continue with its plan to buy $600bn of debt through until mid-2011.

Elsewhere, the USA has seen some progress from China to allow the value of its currency to appreciate. China has come under pressure as the Chinese reminbi has been kept artificially low against the US dollar, giving Chinese exporters an unfair advantage. Apparently Chinese Premier Hu Jintao offered no new concessions on currency on his visit to the USA last week.

Smart Currency Exchange is a currency partner to Harpers Wine and Spirit. Harpers Wine and Spirit has teamed up with Smart to provide readers with a free bespoke currency service.

If you are making or receiving international payments and are interested in talking to Smart please go to: to get a FREE no obligation quote or to download the Smart Wine and Spirit report. Alternatively call Smart on 0207 898 0500.