Description:Pound holding steady against Euro at a touch over €1.25 to the Pound
I'm tempted to say I've cracked this forecasting lark, but happily I've more sense than that. Instead I'll savour the good times while they're here. Last week I called for the pound to come again and consolidate above the 1.25 level. A closing price this week of 1.2510 may not be completely convincing, but it's close enough for me. Not that the pound had things all its own way, by any means, this week.
Recession confirmed - again
So the double dip really did happen after all. Revised GDP data confirmed that the UK is officially in a double-dip recession with the latest figure showing a contraction of 0.3%. Retail sales figures were also much worse than expected revealing a 2.3% drop when only a -0.8% figure was expected.
Leading to more QE?
Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) stated that the UK needs to consider injecting more money into the economy and potentially cutting interest rates to stimulate growth. Cutting interest rates from 0.5%? We'll be paying the banks to hold our money soon at that rate. Thankfully however the minutes of the latest MPC meeting show that the vote was 8-1 against starting up the printing presses again just yet. Not a very rosy picture though, all the same.
Noisy neighbour problems
With EU problems continuing apace, Merv and his mates are now making it quite clear that this will soon start to affect the UK. 50% of our exports go to the EU, so a strong pound is not helpful in Merv's eyes. Further EU problems will affect the UK economy, and will eventually increase the chances of more QE. That would not be good for the pound.
And now the bad news, for the Euro that is
We've seen that sterling has its problems, but they pale into insignificance when you look at the Eurozone mess. And make no mistake, this is why the Euro will remain weak, and in my view sterling will make more ground:
Well it all comes down to Greece, doesn't it? Many people are sympathetic, taking the view that Greek politicians over the years have created the mess that they’re currently in. I tend to share that view. Less sympathetically Christine Lagarde said on Friday, and I paraphrase 'Pull yourselves together and start paying your taxes'.
As at the end of December 2011, total French bank lending to Greece was €36 billion, higher than Germany's €10.5 billion, according to a Bank for International Settlements report. "The banks are doing contingency planning concerning a Greek exit, but you can understand why they wouldn't say so publicly," a consultant to French banks said. An investment banker who advises European banks said French lenders had all stepped up their contingency preparations for a Greek pull-out at regulators' request over the past two weeks.
Spain's wealthiest autonomous region, Catalonia, needs financing help from the central government because it is running out of options for refinancing debt this year, according to Catalan President Artur Mas on Friday.
"We don't care how they do it, but we need to make payments at the end of the month. Your economy can't recover if you can't pay your bills," Mas told a group of reporters from foreign media. A somewhat economically challenged standpoint in my view.
The debt burden of Spain's 17 highly devolved regions, and rising bad loans at the country's banks, are the cause of investor concerns Spain will need an international bailout. Catalonia, which represents one fifth of the Spanish economy, has more than 13 billion euros in debt to refinance this year, as well as its deficit.
On the banking front, Spain's fourth largest bank, Bankia (such imagination!), was invited this week to restate its 2011 balance sheet after it emerged that it needs a €15bn bailout from the state. Not surprisingly, its shares have been suspended.
What does all this mean?
Tin hat time is what it means. Bye bye Greece, probably with effect from the 1st Jan 2013. Euro weakness in spades. €1.30 to the Pound is on the cards as a short to medium term target.
About the author..
Rob Hesketh runs France Financial. Rob is a former international banker now living in the Aude department in Languedoc-Roussillon. Rob spent 30 years working in International Banking in the City of London and Brussels. His banking experience lies mainly in foreign exchange; corporate treasury; money markets & bond financing. Following his retirement from the banking world in 2003, Rob fulfilled a long held ambition and moved with his wife to the South of France. He joined the Spectrum IFA Group in 2005, and began to study the differences between the financial systems of the UK and France, concentrating specifically on areas of interest to UK expats. Since mid 2006, Rob has been registered with and authorised by the French fiscal authorities. He is now a partner in Spectrum, and looks after their client relationships in South West of France.
You can contact the author as follows:
By phone on 0468 247758 or mobile 0631 787647
Or by email using the contact form below
The Spectrum IFA Group - TSG Insurance Services S.A.R.L. Siège Social: 34 Bd des Italiens, 75009« Société de Courtage d'assurances » R.C.S. Paris B 447 609 108 (2003B04384)
HiFx Foreign Exchange Brokers to assist with your move to Pays de la Loire