- Pound (GBP) steady as no policy change expected from BoE
- BoE could sound more upbeat on economic outlook
- Euro (EUR) slipped owing to a strong US Dollar, despite strong PMI data
- Eurozone retail sales in focus
The Pound Euro (GBP/EUR) exchange rate is treading water on Thursday after three straight days of gains. The pair settled up +0.19% on Thursday at €1.1584, towards the high of the day. At 05:45 UTC, GBP/EUR trades -0.01% at €1.1581.
Today the Pounds has its two major risk events for the week, the Scottish elections and the Bank of England monetary policy announcement.
In the Scottish elections, a majority win by the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) could increase the chances of another Scottish Independence referendum. The polls are pointing to a close call as to whether the SNP can secure a majority or not. If they do it could unnerve Pound investors slightly. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said no to another referendum, so this is considered a minor risk.
Instead, Pound investors will be much more focused on the Bank of England’s monetary policy announcement. The central bank is not expected to move on policy keeping interest rates at 0.1% and the asset purchase programme at £895 billion.
However, the UK economy is in a much better place than it was just a few months ago thanks to the vaccine rollout and easing lockdown restrictions. Therefore, investors will be watching closely for any hints of a less dovish BoE, which could lift the Pound.
The Euro came under pressure owing to the stronger US Dollar and despite upbeat Eurozone data. The Eurozone composite PMI, which is often considered a good gauge for business activity, came in at 53.8 in April, ahead of the preliminary 53.7 reading and up from March’s 53.2. Meanwhile the service sector moved back into expansionary territory in April despite the ongoing lockdown restrictions in parts of Europe.
Today economic data will remain in focus with Eurozone retail sales expected to rise 1.5% month on month ion March, up from 3% in February. On a yearly basis retail sales are expected to surge 9.6% compared to a -2.9% decline in February.