Last week’s headlines concerned the shock 0.7% contraction in the UK economy from April to June, announced on Wednesday. The Pound took a tumble as the UK recession extended into a third quarter with a much worse figure than expected, becoming the worst contraction since 1955.
With talk of interest rate cuts and even more quantitative easing, the next few weeks could be tricky for the Pound.
Nonetheless, the well reported problems in the Eurozone continue, with no long term solution or major policy change now likely until September. Inspectors in Greece are close to agreeing the final terms of their bailout, but with Spain increasingly making the news for the wrong reasons, we could be about to enter a crucial phase of the Euro’s history. We would expect the Euro to remain weak, unless Spain avoids the need for a bailout, which could strengthen the single currency and bring exchange rates back down from their current excellent levels.
Finally in Europe, last week’s higher hopes of Eurozone/ECB action to keep debt costs down has filtered through to a lower cost for the Italian government on the bond markets this morning. Rates were 5.96%, lower than the previous auction which cost 6.19% on average. Is this a temporary blip, or does Mario Draghi have something planned to at least delay the current debt problems until the Eurozone leaders return from their August holidays?
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