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21st September 2017 - Exchange Rates News written by TorFX for Exchange-Rates.com

21st September 2017 News: Sterling (GBP) Strengthens on Strong UK Retail Data

Pound Sterling (GBP)

The Pound advanced against many majors during Wednesday trade, as markets reacted to a better-than-expected UK retail sales report from August.

Britain’s August retail sales report improved from 1.4% to 2.4% year-on-year, despite being forecast to slip from 1.3% to 1.1%. Similarly, the monthly result rose from a revised 0.6% to 1% - well above the predicted 0.2%.

The report boosted market hopes that Britain’s economy would be able to support tighter monetary policy from the Bank of England (BoE) in the foreseeable future. It indicated that UK consumers remained resilient despite the ongoing pay squeeze and Brexit concerns.

US Dollar (USD)

The Pound to US Dollar exchange rate briefly advanced in Wednesday trade due to UK retail sales data, but the pair dropped to a new weekly low during the American session.

US Dollar demand increased as the Federal Reserve announced its plans to unwind its huge balance sheet. With US quantitative easing (QE) now officially on the way out and Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen striking an optimistic tone, the ‘Greenback’ became much more appealing.

The balance sheet is expected to be unwound from October onwards, as part of the US economy’s recovery from the financial crisis. Yellen also left the door open for another 2017 interest rate hike, though policymakers remain split on whether US inflation will be strong enough to support one.

Euro (EUR)

The Pound to Euro exchange rate recovered from Tuesday’s lows on Wednesday, as Britain’s latest retail sales data impressed.

Demand for the Euro was mixed. While the shared currency was supported slightly by recent economic sentiment surveys and a better-than-expected German PPI report, these were not influential enough to boost the Euro outlook.

Analysts expect the European Central Bank (ECB) will begin to withdraw its quantitative easing (QE) scheme in the foreseeable future, but other policies like interest rates could remain accommodative for some time. This means investors have had little reason to keep buying the already overvalued Euro.

Australian Dollar (AUD)

After slipping earlier in the week, the Pound to Australian Dollar advanced on Thursday morning.

Investors reacted to the latest Federal Reserve news when Asian markets opened. As demand for risky currencies like the Australian Dollar faded due to the optimistic Fed tone, the ‘Aussie’ was sold and GBP/AUD easily advanced.

The Australian Dollar weakened further following comments from Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) Governor Philip Lowe, who indicated that the bank may be a long way away from considering tighter monetary policy.

This weighed on market hopes that the RBA could make two interest rate hikes in 2018.

New Zealand Dollar (NZD)

The Pound to New Zealand Dollar exchange rate edged up from its lows on Thursday morning, as the New Zealand Dollar was weakened by Federal Reserve news and weaker demand for risk-correlated currencies.

Demand for the risky ‘Kiwi’ has been buoyed in recent sessions by domestic news however. New Zealand’s Q2 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) results both met projections, with the previous quarterly figure being revised up from 0.5% to 0.6%.

Markets are also optimistic that the New Zealand general election will have minimal effect on the nation’s political outlook, as the ruling National Party appears to continue leading the polls.

Canadian Dollar (CAD)

The Pound to Canadian Dollar exchange rate continued to edge higher during Wednesday’s session, and by Thursday morning the pair was trending near its best levels in over two months.

Wednesday’s relatively optimistic Federal Reserve decision weighed on the risk-correlated Canadian Dollar, and weak oil prices have also kept pressure on the ‘Loonie’.

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