Pound Signals Rebound after Intense Volatility

December 18, 2022
Pound Signals Rebound after Intense Volatility December 18, 2022 Lennox Hamilton

The Pound to Dollar exchange rate declined significantly in the last session of the week, capping a difficult time for the pound and numerous other currencies, although it seemed to be stabilizing beyond its 200-day moving average before the weekend.

On Friday, US Dollars were purchased nearly everywhere in response to more setbacks on the equity and bond markets, although the Pound-Dollar exchange rate looked to regain some stability, according to S&P. According to global PMI surveys, the US manufacturing and services industries continued to decline in December.

Larger-than-anticipated decreases in both businesses contrasted with better-than-anticipated results in other regions of Europe, where the French and German indexes rose sufficiently to surpass those of the United States in both sectors.

Chris Williamson, chief business economist at S&P Global, explains, “employment growth has declined to a crawl as enterprises through both manufacturing and services adopt a far more conservative approach to recruiting in response to the decline in client demand.”

The PMI surveys released on Friday were the ninth series in 2022 to disappoint forecasts in the United States. They were released at the conclusion of a week in which the Federal Reserve hiked benchmark interest rates to 4.5% and cautioned that they may reach 5.5% in 2023. Friday’s polls also revealed that the UK manufacturing and services industries’ respective downturns lessened in December.

According to Abbas Khan, an economist at Barclays, “the statistics definitely hint to upside risks to development, but our larger outlook of a European recession remains unchanged.”
While the Pound to Dollar exchange rate looked to be stabilizing late on Friday, it stayed down for the week, with considerable losses taken in the aftermath of the Bank of England and European Central Bank’s interest rate announcements on Thursday.

The Bank of England (BoE) lifted the Bank Rate by 0.5 percentage points to 3.5 percent, marking the ninth increase since December 2022. However, not all members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) supported the move due to a three-way divide in opinions regarding the rate at which inflationary pressure is anticipated to decline in the coming year.

“With the Bank of England being the initial key central bank to hike rates, it may also be the initial to conclude its cycle (we estimate in March),” writes Nomura analyst Jordan Rochester.
If markets manage to see an uptick in growth statistics, it might balance the impending gloom and doom. But the United Kingdom may also witness a considerable increase in defaults, and this may serve a role in the worldwide canary in the coal mine,” Rochester notes in a research briefing published on Friday.

Last week, two members of the BoE’s nine-member rate-setting committee backed no move at all, while one member voted for a higher hike, resulting in losses for the pound. However, the ECB took the spotlight and had the most influence on markets.

The European Central Bank (ECB) has hiked its benchmark rates four times since July, increasing its formerly-negative deposit rate from -0.5% to 2.5%, and has cautioned this week that it wants to lift rates “further” once 2023 begins.

Furthermore, the bank stated that it aims to begin the procedure of unwinding its quantitative easing, which had earlier moved substantial sums of money out of the Eurozone and into different markets, such as the equity and bond markets. This, above all else, may explain why the Euro performed better than the pound and numerous other currencies over the past week.

“The ECB’s aggressive rhetoric directly precedes an economic slowdown. Comparable to the Federal Reserve, however, the US economy is likely more resilient. This is why the EUR was unable to maintain its gains, according to Brad Bechtel, global chief of FX at Jefferies.

“The main driver was EUR/GBP, as the Bank of England seemed as dovish as always.” This is a central bank that is plainly attempting to miss the target market expectations and practically always delivering dovish policy. This again, the market seems to have taken notice,” Bechtel says in a Friday market remark.

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