The Federal Reserve opening up a new repo facility for foreign central banks, a US GDP forecast from Goldman Sachs much worse than anything during the Great Recession and a rising number of US coronavirus cases weighted on the dollar and help the pound rebound from earlier weakness.
Pound versus US dollar was up by 23 pips (+0.25%) to 1.2447 with a daily range of 1.2255 to 1.2454 as of 4pm GMT.
After a sharp dip below 1.23 in early trading, the GBP/USD powered back through 1.24 then 1.245 before coming short of a rise to 1.25.
British pound helped by consumer confidence data
Some relative resilience from UK consumers supported Sterling. GfK consumer confidence for March came in at -9 versus an expected -15. Commenting on the data GfK said: “While we have a long way to drop before we match the devastating numbers seen in July 2008 when the Overall Index Score crashed to -39 points, lockdown Britain can only expect further deterioration”.
Dollar weakened by new Repo facility & Goldman forecast
The new FIMA Repo (short for repurchase) Facility is another attempt by the Federal Reserve to ease dollar funding stresses across the globe that indirectly caused a sharp spike in the value of the dollar in March. At the same time the Fed is aiming to stop ‘disorderly’ selling in US Treasury markets by offering to exchange Treasuries for US dollars, which the Fed will then repurchase at a later date.
In describing the new measures the Fed said: “This facility should help support the smooth functioning of the U.S. Treasury market by providing an alternative temporary source of U.S. dollars other than sales of securities in the open market.”
While the new liquidity measures were devaluing the dollar directly, there are also some fundamental problems coming for the United States Goldman Sachs cuts its second quarter US growth forecast to -34% y/y. The investment bank expects things to pickup in June if lockdown and social distancing measures do the trick at keeping the number of infections at bay.