Market Update

All eyes are on the Bank of England today, as GBP weakens slightly with the upcoming decision on Interest Rates expected at Midday. GBP has dropped off slightly showing some nervousness towards the possibility of negative interest rates being mentioned in the near term to counter-act the fragility of The UK economy. Factors leading to consideration of negative interest rates have been seen through December and January with high unemployment and lower than expected retail sales.

Economists do however anticipate the bank rate to remain at 0.1% with the economic recovery looking more promising as each week passes due to the impressive success of the vaccine roll-out so far, with figures showing 10 million people having received the first of two vaccination doses throughout January and up until 2nd February, around 15% of the population.

With the UK in a strong position leading the vaccination roll-out, it should allow for a gradual reopening for the economy sooner rather than later, providing another bout of optimism for Sterling.

The USD edged towards its strongest in more than 2 months against The Euro as pessimism surrounding the U.S. economic outlook receded, albeit with the release of important jobs data due out today and tomorrow. Data due Friday is expected to show The U.S. economy have added 50,000 jobs in January, a mild recovery from the 140,000 jobs lost in the previous month as a result of a surge in Covid cases.

The confidence behind the Dollar has improved as progress in their Covid vaccination programme picks up pace with 17 million of a possible 29 million doses being administered as of Monday 1st February. The pace in which the vaccines are being rolled out looks like it will only continue in this form with 200 million doses due to be delivered to The U.S. by May, considerably earlier than the initial plan of July.

The Euro is under pressure against USD & Sterling as the economy was seen to have contracted by 6.8% by the end of 2020 as governments stepped up social restrictions to contain a second wave. The Euro-Zone had experienced growth of 12.4% initially as low infection rates had allowed a partial re-open of their economies.

However, the partial re-opening was short-lived as infection rates surged and the vaccination roll-out was slower and more complicated than hoped. Europe are lagging The U.S. & The UK in their vaccination programme with frustrations leading to a stand-off between Brussels, The UK & AstraZeneca. The stand-off on Friday has raised concerns about a European recovery, backed up by the International Monetary Fund lowering its growth expectations for The Euro-Zone in 2021.

The IMF last week cut its growth forecast by 1% to 4.2% this year. The 4 biggest economies of the Euro-Zone; France, Germany, Italy & Spain have all had their growth expectations slashed for 2021.

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