What’s been happening?
The euro was Monday’s currency winner, recording (and holding) notable gains against the majors thanks to the outcome of Sunday’s first round of voting in the French election.
With one of the anti-EU candidates, left-wing Jean-Luc Melenchon, out of the running, the odds of a ‘Frexit’ were reduced, and demand for the common currency surged.
Although far-right Marine Le Pen made it through to the second round, recent polls see her commanding just over 30% of the final vote – with centrist Emmanuel Macron taking more than 60%.
In a surprising move, Le Pen has temporarily stepped down as leader of the National Front in hopes that campaigning ‘above partisan considerations’ will encourage supporters of the defeated candidates to back her when it’s time to return to the polls.
While the pound fell by over 1% against a rallying euro, the British currency was able to claw back some of its losses against the US dollar as Federal Reserve rate hike expectations remain deflated following President Donald Trump’s recent comments about preferring a low interest rate policy.
The only UK data of the day revealed that the post-referendum depreciation in the pound meant that factories experienced the best three month period for exports for more than six years between February and April. Less positively, plans for investment have fallen dramatically in response to continued uncertainty about the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU.
What’s coming up?
UK public borrowing figures could have an impact on the pound in the hours ahead, but other than those numbers the only potentially currency-moving data on the calendar for today is the US consumer confidence report for April.
Although sentiment is believed to have fallen, if the gauge comes in at 122.5 (as expected) it will still be above the historical average.
What’s the good news?
It’s amazing how currency reacts to market conditions or political direction. The GBP gained some much needed strength on the back of the Tory Government announcement of a snap UK election highlighting how a strong government with a majority can influence market decisions. This was balanced out this week by France’s lean towards the right where the GBP lost some of it’s gains.
Currency markets are extremely volatile and it pays to keep an eye out on the markets. This is extremely important when you rely on pension transfers or when you are trying to achieve the best rates for buying or selling your property or indeed paying for you renovations.