The immediate future of the British pound all points to this Thursday’s Bank of England rate decision followed by a monetary press conference.
No changes are expected this time around but the market has priced in a 50 percent chance that the BOE will lift rates in May so most of the focus will be on the monetary statement.
If indeed the BOE comes out with a hawkish tone and signals that a rate hike is a distinct possibility in the coming months the Sterling should find strong support as long as between now and then the US stock market and in particular the Dow Jones doesn’t tumble again.
The Fear is that the speech may be less than optimistic as so many questions over the status of Brexit remain unanswered and any movement higher in rates will hit the UK economy in a negative way at this delicate time.
“We think the appetite for making a big signal shift at this meeting is low and that the BoE might take a wait - and-see approach. This could send EUR/GBP slightly higher this week,” said Jens Naervig Pedersen, an analyst at Danske Bank.
Data released earlier today from the UK may give reason for the bank of England to keep rates on hold a little longer than anticipated.
The latest housing price index from Halifax in the UK hit the market at -0.6 percent against analysts’ expectations for a figure of 0.2 percent which marks the 2nd straight month of declines and makes it evident that the UK property market is not ready for higher rates.
“The MPC can’t ignore the evidence of a housing market slowdown now in front of them, so we doubt that they will signal to markets tomorrow that interest rates could rise as soon as May,” said Samuel Tombs of Pantheon Macroeconomics.
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