- Pound (GBP) Exchange Rates Fall as Recent Snowstorms Encumber UK Services Sector -
The Pound US Dollar (GBP/USD) exchange rate took a tumble on Thursday, paring recent gains as markets reacted to a poor performance in the UK’s services sector and easing fears in China-US trade relations.
IHS Markit’s latest purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for the services sector printed at a score of 51.7, down from the previous period’s 54.5 and the market forecast of 54.0.
This was largely due to the recent severe storms in the UK, with the ‘Beast from the East’ putting a sizeable dent in the UK’s services sector just like it did in manufacturing and construction.
The report stated:
‘Survey respondents noted that snow disruption and unusually bad weather conditions in March had been a key factor holding back business activity growth’.
This result is also dangerously close to the 50-point mark that separates expansion from contraction, and with services making up 79% of the UK’s overall GDP, the fall is likely to adversely affect the UK’s first quarter GDP for 2018.
- US Dollar (USD) Exchange Rates Rally as Trade War Fears Temporarily Subside -
The US Dollar (USD) clawed back recent losses on Thursday, climbing as markets responded to comments from US National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, who asserted that trade tariffs might not even go into effect.
Speaking to reporters, Kudlow argued that both nations are simply in the process of negotiating, and that threats of tariff measures are a ‘part of the process’.
‘I mean, I would take the president seriously on this tariff issue. You know, there are carrots and sticks in life, but he is ultimately a free trader. He’s said that to me, he’s said it publicly. So he wants to solve this with the least amount of pain’.
This news was effective in easing market anxieties that the US and China could soon spark an all-out trade war, but it should be stressed that, according to the White House Press Secretary and the US President himself, if Beijing does not lower its barriers to trade and confront its questionable intellectual property activities, then the US will move forward with the tariffs.
- Pound US Dollar (GBP/USD) Exchange Rate Forecast: US Employment in the Spotlight -
Tomorrow’s US employment figures will likely take centre stage for GBP/USD, especially after today’s rather mixed US jobless claims figures.
According to the US Labour Department, the number of continuing American jobless claims fell to its lowest level since 1973 in March, but the number of new applications for US unemployment benefits actually increased above expectations.
Tomorrow, markets will be keen to assess the US unemployment rate and wage growth readings, with positive results liable to indicate economic strength in the US and better make-the-case for 4 rate hikes this year from the US Federal Reserve, rather than 3.