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Posted March 24th, 2011 by Charles Purdy

Currency Comments following the Budget 24th March 2011

Sterling fell by 0.8% against the US dollar yesterday as Chancellor George Osborne lowered the estimate for UK economic growth to 1.7% this year from a previous forecast of 2.1%. Inflation is also expected to remain between 4% and 5% which raises the possibility that we could be looking at a period of “stagflation”. Heading into yesterday, sterling had been buoyed by higher than expected inflation and an anticipation of an earlier than expected interest rate hike. However, the Bank of England minutes showed no changes to last month’s voting and the Budget delivered a downgraded growth forecast – both of which contributed to sterling’s drop. Retail sales data released this morning has also come in worse than expected.  

In the euro zone, the euro held firm as expectations for an interest rate hike next month rebounded and this contrasted sharply with the Bank of England’s stance and also poor US data. The euro’s gains were limited by concerns over Portugal, where there were worries that a political crisis could see the country seeking emergency help from the European Union. The European Summit kicks off today, so keep an eye out for any news that could see significant movements.
 
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