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Posted May 14th, 2010 by Charles Purdy

USD/GBP Rate & Comments for 14th May 2010

USD/GBP – 1.458

Sterling fell yesterday against the US dollar and euro as the UK’s trade balance widened by more than expected. In March, the UK imported £6.3bn more than it exported and in April this gap increased by more than £1bn to £7.5bn. Exports remained steady and imports jumped, which disappointed the markets. Sterling is weak compared to most major currencies and the fact that this has not encouraged foreign investment into the UK is worrying, but also shows that global demand as a whole is weak. The ongoing saga in Greece could be blamed for a lack of demand for UK goods, but this is likely to continue as the Euro zone looks to curb spending and avoid debt default. Mervyn King hinted that the UK would benefit if Germany injected funds into the economy to encourage spending and ultimately boost UK exports. Elsewhere, the new government sent a clear message of its intentions to cut spending by cutting their own pay by 5% – frozen for 5 years. Whilst this saves roughly £3m (a drop in the ocean compared with the deficit) it is a clear message to the markets. So far, financial markets have welcomed the new coalition. Unfortunately, the pound is in a poor position. If the Greek crisis spreads further, we will effectively lose demand from a major marketplace for UK exporters. Out today we have no real data for the UK, but the currency traders will keep a close eye on David Cameron as he continues to forge ahead with plans for a ‘New Britain’. Call in now for a live exchange rate.

In the USA, unemployment claims fell by 4,000 last month, but this fell short of the expected 8,000 drop. Import prices showed a mild improvement on the month. One analyst made the bold prediction that the USD would strengthen against the euro and reach or go beyond the 1999 entry rate of $1.18/ 1 as European countries are not following budget deficit rules laid down by the Maastricht treaty. The euro’s status as an alternative to the US dollar is in doubt as a result. Out today we have retail sales data for the US which is expected to show a decline month on month. Get in touch now, as many are predicting lower than $1.40/£1 in the coming months.

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