No real economic data out yesterday in the UK apart from the fact that house prices have continued to rise.
Mark Carney spoke yesterday with regards to the currency union with Scotland. In which he basically stated there will be significant risks for Scotland if it leaves the UK but keeps the pound.
Indicating that we would have to have a monetary union and also fiscal risk sharing (interest rates) between Scotland and the rest of the UK
The Federal Reserve decided last night to trim its monthly bond buying by US$10bn to US$65bn, sticking to its plan for a gradual withdrawal.
They said labour market indicators were mixed but on balance showed further improvement
The Fed also left its statement unchanged that it will probably hold its target interest rate near zero “well past the time” that unemployment falls below 6.5%, “especially if projected inflation” remains below the committee’s longer-run goal of 2%.
The US dollar didn’t really strengthen yesterday on the back of this but there has been some strength this morning.
The South African Reserve Bank unexpectedly increased its benchmark interest rate. They increased the interest rates to 5.5% from 5%.
This was partly to try and reduce the inflation rate which is up to 6.3% and also to try and strengthen the rand. However, on the back of the interest rate hike the rand weakened 2.6% against the pound as investors worried about how the hike in the rate would hurt growth in the economy.
Even after Turkey increased their interest rate yesterday, the lira initially strengthened but pretty much reversed all its gains throughout the day.
We had mixed data from Europe this morning. German unemployment was slightly better than expected remaining at 6.8% instead of worsening to 6.9% but economic sentiment in the Eurozone region failed to rise as much as markets were expecting. The euro has traded flat as a result.
Mortgage approvals in the UK also failed to rise as much as markets were expecting and as a result the pound has generally weakened across the board by an average of 0.6%.
Later this afternoon, we have data economic growth figures from the US as well as the release of the weekly jobless claims. Both sets of figures are set to worsen, which could well halt the gains the US dollar has made so far today.
13.00pm – EUR – German Consumer Price Index (Jan): Expected to rise to 1.5%.
13.30pm – USD – Gross Domestic Product Annualised (Q4): Expected to fall to 3.3%.
13.30pm – USD – Initial Jobless Claims: Expected to increase to 330,000.