The pound fell against all 16 of the most actively traded currencies yesterday to reach new 2014 low’s against both the euro and the New Zealand dollar ahead of today’s budget announcement from Chancellor George Osborne.
The Bank of England (BoE) dominated the news wires yesterday with Governor Mark Carney announcing the appointment of a fourth deputy governor, Nemat Shafik who also joins its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC). Shafik is currently Deputy Governor at the International Monetary Fund, a post she has held since 2011 and will take up the newly created position of Deputy Governor responsible for Markets and Banking on 1 August.
Carney also announced the appointments of current MPC member Ben Broadbent to the position of Deputy Governor, responsible for Monetary Policy. Broadbent will replace current deputy Governor Charles Bean on 1 July who is retiring from the Bank after 14 years. The appointment of Anthony Habgood as Chairman of Court, succeeding Sir David Lees was also confirmed. Habgood currently chairs the boards at UK-listed companies Whitbread and Reed Elsevier.
Carney said “With a diverse combination of skills and experience, these appointments result in a well-rounded senior management team at the Bank, one that will set the direction for an ambitious agenda of transformation for the institution and enable it to meet the challenges and opportunities it faces in maintaining monetary and financial stability.
The euro strengthened after Germany's Constitutional Court ruled that the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) does not violate German law. The ESM was established as a €500 billion bailout fund for the euro zone countries and its banks and Germany, the largest economy gave the largest guarantees to the fund, to the tune of €190 billion.
In US data, the US Department of Commerce reported that US housing starts fell by 0.2% month-on-month in February to reach an annualised rate of 907,000, just shy of estimates for a figure of 910,000 but housing starts are still 6.9% above its February 2013 level.
Meanwhile, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that US consumer prices advanced at a 0.1% month-on-month and 1.3% year-on-year pace in February, in line with analysts’ expectations.
Today sees the publication of the latest UK employment data and the minutes from the last Bank of England meeting from the begining of the month as well as the UK budget and finally the latest US Federal Reserve policy meeting, the first chaired by new head Janet Yellen.