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Pound falls on European elections aftermath

Published: 28 May at 9 AM Tags: Pound Sterling, Euro Exchange Rate, Dollar Exchange Rate, Euro Crisis, UK, Economy, Inflation,

The pound fell away from recent highs against the majority of the 16 most actively traded currencies in the market yesterday after the announcement over the weekend that UKIP had won last week’s European elections.

This despite better than expected data out of the UK yesterday. Firstly, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) reported that business optimism amongst service-sector firms improved at a record pace over the last three months following on from a full year of growth in business volumes. The business sector represents the large majority of the UK economy.

The main business confidence gauge showed its strongest reading since the survey began in November 1998.

Katja Hall, CBI Deputy Director-General said “The recovery continues to strengthen with both consumer and business-facing firms taking on more staff and investing in training and IT”.

Meanwhile, the British Bankers’ Association (BBA reported that UK mortgage approvals for home purchases hit an eight-month low in April of 42,173, down from a reading of 45.045 in March.

Analysts immediately suggested that the new regulations introduced under the Mortgage Market Review (MMR), on 26 April seem to have temporarily taken some of the steam out of housing market activity as some lenders moved to raise their mortgage lending standards before the new regulations kicked it.

The euro took advantage of yesterday’s fall in the value of the pound but continues to fall against the US dollar after European Central Bank (ECB) council member Ewald Nowotny said that euro zone inflation is likely to remain significantly below the objective for the next two years although it should return to target levels in the medium term.

In the US, data showed that US durable goods orders increased by 0.8% in April following a 3.6% climb in March and the consumer confidence index edged up from 81.7 in April to 83 in May, in line with expectations.

Meanwhile, the US Richmond Fed manufacturing index remained unchanged at 7 in May while the Dallas Fed manufacturing index fell to 8 this month from 11.7 in April. In addition, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reported that US home prices advanced by 0.7% month-on-month in March with US house prices gaining 1.29% in the last 3 months and by another 6.62% when compared to the same period 12 months ago.