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A strong GBP ahead of Bank of England minutes
20 March 2014

The push on Sterling continued from more of a positive sentiment ahead of yesterday’s unemployment figures and the Bank of England minutes. The morning push picked up fairly quickly against European market openings, Sterling adding up to half a cent against the Euro. Before any data had landed officially the gains has held. Equally, the early market movement had provided a £700 better off if you was looking at buying €200,000 for your overseas property.

As expected unemployment figures rolled into town pretty much on line. Only the claimant count dropped by some 10k on previous reports. Surprisingly, the Pound held its ground and BoE minutes had a sub standard effect on the markets.

The budget report, which rarely has an effect on the currency markets lived up to expectations. The pound was not affected at all despite George Osborne stating growth forecasts were up, borrowing coming down and announcing various policies to help stimulate the economy. It seems traders were unmoved by the 1p cut in beer duty!

In early evening we had the first interest rate setting meeting and press conference from new Fed chair Janet Yellen. Initially when the vote was released, deciding for the third month in a row to taper QE by another $10 Billion the dollar strengthened across the board making half cent gains against sterling and the euro. In the subsequent press conference half an hour later they commented on a change to forward guidance with regards to their ultra low interest rates which has been re-assessed and other factors would need to be considered as well as just the target unemployment rate of 6.5%. This stance gave the dollar further momentum and we saw further gains from the greenback. 

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