As we dive into a new week, the EUR/GBP currency pair continues to display stabilization, maintaining a slim range around the 0.8560 mark. This steady holding pattern is expected to persist into the early European session on Monday, as traders and investors anticipate key inflation data from the Eurozone and a significant announcement from the Bank of England (BoE) later this week.
Earlier on Monday, the latest data released by Destatis indicated a 0.8% month-over-month (MoM) decline in Germany’s retail sales, a considerable fall from the market consensus of -0.2% and the previous month’s 0.2%. Concurrently, the bloc’s overall retail sales plunged by 1.6% annually in June, contrasting sharply with the expected 6.3% decrease and less than May’s 3.6% decline.
Last week, we saw the European Central Bank (ECB) raise interest rates by 25 basis points (bps) to 4.25%, a noteworthy move to watch. In response to this decision, ECB President Christine Lagarde communicated that the central bank is earnestly striving to hit a medium-term inflation target of 2%. In a Sunday interview with Reuters, Lagarde expressed optimism regarding the latest economic output figures from France, Germany, and Spain, noting them as encouraging signs amidst global financial turbulence.
The Bank of England’s Governor, Andrew Bailey, expressed the need to control inflation, emphasizing that completing this task is of utmost importance. At the same time, Deputy Governor Dave Ramsden communicated that despite recent dips, inflation levels remain troublingly high. Interestingly, a majority of economists surveyed by Reuters last week anticipate that rates will rise to 5.25% from the current 5%, reaching a potential peak of 5.75%.
In an unanticipated move, the BoE raised its bank rate by 50 basis points (bps) to 5.00%. This added rate hike intensifies concerns about the Bank’s most aggressive rate hikes in three decades, increasing the pressure on the Pound Sterling and sparking questions about the potential impact on the UK’s economy. As borrowing costs escalate, the UK economy is grappling with significant challenges, particularly within the property industry. Furthermore, the rising cost constraints are also affecting retail orders and manufacturing activities.
Data disseminated last week revealed that economic activity in the United Kingdom was weaker than estimated. The Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for July dropped to 45.0 from June’s 46.5, falling below the forecasted 46.1. This figure marks the 12th consecutive contraction in the manufacturing sector. Similarly, the preliminary Services PMI fell to 51.5 from a prior 53.0 and an expected 53.7.
In the coming days, market observers are keen to follow the BoE interest rate decision due on Thursday. Moreover, BOE Governor Andrew Bailey’s subsequent remarks may provide clues regarding future monetary policy and set a course for the GBP/USD pair. In the United States, attention is focused on the upcoming Nonfarm Payroll report. Forecasts predict that the economy created approximately 180,000 jobs, with the unemployment rate holding steady at 3.6%.
For South Africa, these international financial movements will have a significant impact, particularly as the country’s economy is heavily linked to global markets. Changes in the EUR/GBP currency pair, as well as the BoE’s and ECB’s decisions, could impact South African investors, traders, and businesses involved in the European and UK markets. Furthermore, these decisions could influence the South African Reserve Bank’s monetary policy direction and the value of the Rand in the global market. Thus, it is crucial for South African stakeholders to closely follow these events.