The last few months of trading showed a very weak U.K. economy, something that has been reflected directly in the pound’s value.
Currently, the U.K. economy faces one of the strongest contractions on record, while the government runs a massive deficit that is forecast to reach 12% of the economy in the next few quarters; by far the biggest among the developed economies. Even the BoE’s quantitative easing plan has not work as planned, since even if the Bank bought roughly 20% of the entire Gilt market, the current yields are still above the ones when the QE program was announced, TheLFB-Forex.com Trade Team said.
All this had put the pound in a negative light, something that was very well observed during recent risk-aversion phases, when the pound was the first pair to be sold, and usually at the strongest pace. However, things may be starting to look positive for sterling once again, since according to the latest TheLFB-Forex.com Trade Team reports, the BoE might have misjudged its inflation forecast.
In a little more than a year, the Bank of England reduced the interest rate by 500 basis points, from 5.50% in December 2007 to 0.50% in 2009. However, most of the easing came during the second part of 2008 and early 2009, as the BoE reached record low interest rates based on forecasts that inflation will “undershoot” the 2% target. Since then, months have passed, but the CPI read still holds above the 2% target.
The BoE issues a quarterly inflation report, and according to the latest three issues, May’s CPI (which was sitting at 2.2%) is in the upper range of the BoE forecasts. To make matters worse, according to the same projections, the CPI downfall should come to an end over the next few months, and then slowly move higher, which means that soon, the BoE will have a negative inflationary policy, while inflation reads will be already going the other way; higher
For comparison, while inflation reached 2.2% in the U.K., the year-over year inflation is negative in the U.S., and slightly above the 0% line in Germany, even though in the U.K. and U.S., the CPIs behaved in a fashionable way over the last few years.
The BoE problem with inflation continues in the food department it seems, TheLFB-Forex.com Trade Team said. Analyzing the CPI components, a problematic trend emerges, even from the initial view; food prices are up by a huge 8% year over year in May, in a period when the BoE worries about deflation. Again, comparing this numbers with the German or the U.S. food prices, which are both below the 2% benchmark, shows again that the BoE has been wrong in its forecasts, and inflation will become a big problem once the economy starts to recover.
For now, the pound’s outlook is mixed as the U.K. economy faces both medium and long-term problems: a huge deficit and inflation picking up strongly over the next few quarters. Both of these two problems work in different direction, since the deficit puts downside pressure on the pound as it denotes an expansionary money supply, while a high level of inflation will force the BoE to raise rates, something that should strengthen the pound. In the short term though, the market looks to want to hold the short-side of the pound, as it seems traders are now more focused on the huge deficits and on the political dead-lock.
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