Business News

UK Pound Drops To 37-Year Low

September 17, 2022 / By Zunair Tahir / Business News


The British pound hit new lows against the US dollar and the euro on Friday, marking the 30th anniversary of “Black Wednesday,” as weaker-than-expected retail overall sales fueled concerns about the country’s economy.

In terms of the dollar, the pound dropped more than 1% to $1.1351—its lowest level since 1985—and was most recently trading at $1.1404.

A further significant rate rise from the Federal Reserve next week has been priced in by markets as a result of this week’s hotter-than-expected U.S. inflation, which has made the dollar stronger than most other major currencies in recent months.

The euro, on the other hand, increased to 87.71 pence on Friday, its highest level since February 2021, while the pound has notably suffered. At 87.45 pence, it was recently up 0.39 percent.

A severe depreciation of the pound resulted from Britain’s exit from the Exchange Rate Mechanism, a mechanism created to lessen currency swings prior to the introduction of the euro, on September 16, 1992.

Sterling dropped 4.3% on that day, now known as Black Wednesday, and ended the day at $1.778, which is significantly more than it is presently.

The statistics that led to Friday’s decline indicated that retail sales volumes fell 1.6% in monthly terms in August, which was worse than all of the projections in a Reuters survey of experts, who had called for a 0.5% decline. This was the worst loss since December 2021.

The International Monetary Fund predicts that the British economy will see weaker economic growth and more persistent inflation than any other major country in 2019.

According to John Hardy, director of FX strategy at Saxobank, “the grinding backdrop of everything that’s going on is pushing on sterling, with the UK running these big external deficits and the concerns around the incoming prime minister’s plans contributing to that.”

To lessen the economic blow of the war in Ukraine, Britain’s new leader, Liz Truss, proposed last week a two-year ceiling on consumer energy prices. The measures are expected to cost the nation upwards of 100 billion pounds ($115 billion). 

On September 23, British Finance Minister Kwasi Kwarteng is anticipated to present a fiscal statement outlining how this will be paid for as well as how he would carry out the tax cuts Truss pledged during her run for the Conservative Party leadership.

Additionally, markets are “risk-off” as a result of FedEx pulling their prediction and a decline in U.S. stocks below a crucial support level. Sterling is equivalent to a worse euro in a risk-off atmosphere, according to Foley.

On Thursday, FedEx Corp cancelled the financial projection it had made just three months prior, sending its shares tumbling and straining the market as a whole.

A jam-packed week of central bank meetings will include the Bank of England’s meeting the following week. Market pricing suggests that a 75-basis-point increase has a little higher probability than a 50-basis-point increase.

There is definitely a danger that a 50bp boost will spark further GBP selling, according to MUFG, given that the (European Central Bank) increased rates by 75bps, the Bank of Canada did the same, the Fed will follow suit, and potentially the (Swiss National Bank).


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