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A quiet start to the trading week

Published: 20 May at 8 AM Tags: Pound Sterling, Euro Exchange Rate, Currency Exchange, Forex, Canadian Dollar Exchange Rate, Euro Crisis, UK, Exchange Rates, Economy,

The markets were quieter than normal as a lack of economic data led to smaller than usual trading volumes ahead of a busy midweek.

The markets continue to take stock of the latest comments on the UK housing market from Bank of England Governor Mark Carney who said yesterday that the main domestic risk to financial stability in the UK and therefore to the durability of the expansion centres on the housing market citing the “deep, deep” structural problems in the market, chiefly a lack of adequate supply as the main culprit. Carney also pointed out that twice the number of homes is built in his native Canada each year than in the UK.

Carney added that "The level of higher loan-to-income mortgages, ones above four and a half, five times loan-to-income, potentially could store up bigger problems for the future and we need to be careful".
Carney also confirmed that the Bank of England is also checking the government’s Help-to-Buy programme, stating that although it is a relatively small and targeted programme it may grow a lot and affect other parts of the mortgage market.

Although his message was firmly centred on the UK housing market, Carney also mentioned that weak demand in the euro zone; the persistent strength of sterling are also of concern.

In the euro zone, European Central Bank (ECB) member and Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann struck to his typical cautious tone when he spoke yesterday as speculation continues to mount over whether the ECB will approve new monetary stimulus measures as early as in June.

Weidmann warned that it would be short-sighted to take only one side of the euro exchange rate into view although he admitted the ECB will closely monitor FX moves.

Only last week, the ECB's top economist, Peter Praet, told a German newspaper that the ECB is preparing a number of measures including a negative rate on deposits as a possible option in combination with other measures to try and stimulate economic growth in the euro zone and arrest the deflationary pressures weighing on the region’s economies.

Meanwhile, risk appetite took a hit on the back of another disappointing report on the Chinese housing market as this fuelled concerns over the slowdown in the world’s second largest economy.

The National Bureau of Statistics reported that Chinese property prices dropped last month in eight of the country's cities, compared to only four in March.