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Monday: An American Federal holiday on Monday to celebrate Martin Luther King day meant it was a quiet start to the week on the financial markets. Cable opened the week at 1.5140 and drifted a little higher as the day progressed mirroring EUR/USD upward move.

The IMF released its latest growth forecasts with the estimates for global growth in 2015 being revised downwards to 3.5% from 3.8%. The report stated the net benefit of the oil price slump was being more than offset by other factors such as anaemic growth in the Eurozone and high debt burdens in countries around the world. The UK’s growth forecast for 2015 was held at 2.7% with the American estimate being revised up to 3.6% from 3.1%.

By Jake Trask at UKForex, an international money transfer service

Tuesday: Tuesday morning saw an encouraging uptick in the monthly German ZEW Economic Sentiment survey. The release printed 48.4 a higher than forecast increase from last month’s reading of 34.9. Tuesday also saw China’s Q4 2014 GDP estimate come in broadly in-line with expectations, showing 7.3% growth compared to Q4 2013.

GBP/USD attempted to push through 1.52 at lunchtime, but was meant with stiff resistance with USD well bid. EUR/USD remained fairly range-bound ahead of Thursday’s crucial ECB meeting moving between 1.1540 and 1.1610 throughout the day.

Wednesday: The pound snapped lower on Wednesday morning as the Bank of England MPC minutes showed that members voted unanimously to leave interest rates on hold, this after last month’s votes showed that two members had voted for a rate hike.   Members Weale and McCafferty both switched their votes and agreed that a rate rise would increase the chances of prolonged low inflation.   GBP/USD fell to a low of 1.5090 on the news, but found good support here as traders digested other positive news – released at the same time – that UK claimant count change improved and the unemployment fell below market forecasts to 5.8%.

Meanwhile, the average earnings index printed in line with expectations at 1.7%, this rate outpacing the rate of inflation again in November. In other news the Bank of Canada cut interest rates to 0.75% from 1%, this coming as a big surprise.   The central bank also downgraded growth and inflation forecasts for 2015, referencing the drop in oil as a big concern.   USD/CAD jumped by more than three big figures on the news (from 1.2056 to a high of 1.2393).

The impact of the decision by the Bank of Canada to cut interest rates was felt by other commodity currencies including the Aussie and Kiwi dollars.   The theory goes that if one resource rich country does it, what will stop another resource rich country from doing so?   AUD/USD from .8228 to .8051 in 24 hours whilst NZD/USD dropped from .7705 to .7512.

Thursday: Thursday saw Mario Draghi confirm what most of the world had been expecting for the past couple of weeks as he launched a huge Quantitative Easing programme to try and rescue the Eurozone from a dangerous deflationary cycle. Despite opposition from Germany the ECB is set to buy bonds to the tune of €60b per month with most of this made up of investment grade sovereign debt. Draghi stated QE would run until at least September 2016 leaving the door open for an extension into 2017. He also left the door open for increases to the monthly purchases should inflation not pick up in the medium term.

The package was more than most economists were expecting and the Euro saw an immediate drop in value as details of the plan came out. It appears the Swiss National Bank had the earliest idea of the scale of the plan given their decision last week to abandon their cap against the Euro and cut rates further into negative territory. All Swiss government debt up to ten years now have negative yields! The Danish government have cut rates twice in the past week to -0.35% in an effort to try and defend its currency peg. GBP/EUR pushed beyond 1.32 and EUR/USD collapsed dropping from around 1.16 to hover around 1.13 by early evening.

Friday: Friday has seen some big moves in the forex markets with traders digesting yesterday’s ECB QE announcement; the result being another sustained sell off of the shared currency. EUR/USD has dropped from around 1.1350 to another multi-year low of 1.1231.

GBP/EUR has tested the key 1.3333 (EUR/GBP 0.75) level. The one result of note from the UK on Friday has been a very positive Retail Sales release from the UK with 0.4% growth m/m when a drop of -0.6% was expected. It will probably continue to be a choppy end to the week with some further moves likely when New York comes on line at lunch.

Next week look likely to be fairly eventful with the UKs Q4 GDP estimate on Tuesday, the latest FOMC statement on Wednesday and American Q4 GDP on Friday.

In  our latest podcast, we do an  ECB QE rundown, SNBomb effect on brokers, surprise cut in Canada & Iranian oil:

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