Daily Brief

Daily Brief

See recent articles

Plan B

Super blood wolf moon

The previous two of these luridly-named lunar eclipses, in January and July last year, had no effect on the pound. The one last night was less auspicious. Sterling is down by an average of 0.6% from Friday morning, sharing last place with the South African rand.  

Super wolves aside, sterling's two issues on Friday and over the weekend were - quelle surprise - Brexit and, to a lesser extent, lame UK retail sales data. News that sales fell 0.9% in December did not come as a complete shock. Analysts had predicted such a result as Christmas spending was brought forward to Black Friday/Monday, resulting in a strong 1.3% increase in November. Just because sterling did a lot of its falling after those data had come out is not to say that its losses were because of them.

More likely is that a week of say-no-to-no-deal optimism gave way to a more sober assessment that the cliff edge still awaits if the government - or Parliament - fails to cobble something together in the next 67 days. Plans - some say plots - are being drawn up by backbenchers to avoid a Braxident on 29 March and there is abundant talk of an extension to Article 50.

North Americans lead

There was little to choose between the US and Canadian dollars and the Loonie won by a whisker. The northern Scandinavian crowns were there or thereabouts and the euro, the franc and the yen were close behind. No more than 0.2% separated those eight. 

The Loonie's narrow win came after oil prices moved 3% higher and the Canadian consumer price index data came in mostly higher than forecast. Headline inflation accelerated from 1.7% to 2.0%, giving the Bank of Canada at least something to think about. In the States, industrial production was up by a monthly 0.3% and capacity utilisation ticked higher to 78.7%.  

It was a less positive story from American consumers. The University of Michigan said confidence fell nearly eight points this month to a provisional 90.7. There were no ecostats of any consequence from Europe.  

Missed it

By the time London opened all of the significant data on today's agenda had already come and gone. So try to guess what the main topic of conversation will be.

Rightmove's index put UK house prices 0.4% higher on the month and year. Australian new home sales fell 6.7% in the month of December. German producer prices increased by 1.7% in 2018. The rest of this morning's figures came from China. Most important was gross domestic product, which expanded by 6.6% in 2018. That was the slowest annual growth since 1990. The more sluggish growth came from slower consumer spending and capital expenditure.

But that's China. This is Brexit, and the discussion is unlikely to be any less fervid this week than it was last. Theresa May will return to the Commons today with a plan which, reportedly, will seek to do away with the need for the controversial Irish border "backstop". Importantly, she will not tee up her proposal for a vote in Parliament. Watch and wait.

GBP loses on Friday but still higher on the week

GBP loses on Friday but still higher on the week

ZAR joins sterling in last place

ZAR joins sterling in last place

CAD and USD lead

CAD and USD lead

SEK and NOK do well

SEK and NOK do well

EUR CHF and JPY unchanged against one another

EUR CHF and JPY unchanged against one another

Weekly roundup

Weekly roundup

Go to Weekly round up
Personal payments

Personal payments

With a personal account you can enjoy competitive exchange rates and low fees on all your payments.

Find out more
Foreign exchange business solutions

FX business solutions

We provide tailored services to help companies make global payments and manage their foreign exchange risk

Find out more
Travel money

Travel money

Order your travel money for branch collection or secure it on our explorer multi-currency Mastercard®

Find out more