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Market Update

The pound moved closer towards a one-week high, buoyed by a weak dollar despite data showing that Britain’s economy stagnated in the three months to February before the coronavirus crisis escalated.

Gross domestic product rose by 0.1% in the December-February period, the Office for National Statistics said, weaker than a median forecast for growth of 0.2% in a poll of economists.

Against the dollar, the pound had gained a quarter of a percent to $1.2419, shy of a one-week high. While the pound has generally held firm against the dollar in recent days, it has failed to break above the $1.25 line.

Versus the euro, it faced similar headwinds around the 87.50 levels with some analysts remaining bearish about the British currency’s prospects against the euro as some European countries such as Austria and Denmark plan their exit strategies from a lockdown while the United Kingdom is planning on extending a similar shutdown.

On a weekly basis, the British currency was poised for a tiny marginal gain of about 1%, aided by a broader drop in currency market volatility.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is getting better in intensive care where he is battling COVID-19 as his government extended its overdraft facility and reviewed the most stringent shut down in peacetime history.

Johnson, 55, was admitted to St Thomas’ hospital on Sunday evening with a persistent high temperature and cough and was rushed to intensive care on Monday. He has received oxygen support but has not been put on a ventilator.

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