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Sterling rises as figures show UK consumer spending on the up

Published:  02 March, 2012

Sterling has had a strong week gaining two cents against the euro and one cent against the dollar.

Sterling has had a strong week gaining two cents against the euro and one cent against the dollar.

Currency rates - March 2

EURO/GBP - 1.1991

US$/GBP - 1.5916

CHF/GBP - 1.4472

CAN$/GBP - 1.5724

AUS$/GBP - 1.4793

ZAR/GBP - 11.9390

JPY/GBP - 130.098

HKD/GBP - 12.3520

NZD/GBP - 1.9064

SEK/GBP - 10.5824

AED/GBP - 5.8512

US$/EURO - 1.3278

INR/GBP - 78.79


Figures released this week from the UK Confederation of British Industry (CBI) showed that the level of consumer spending in the UK was much better than many have estimated, giving positive indication to economic growth. Yesterday, one of the members of the Bank of England has stated that he does not see the need for further quantitative easing contradicting the calls for a further injection of money into the economy from some of the other banks members.



The euro had a poor week weakening off against the majority of currencies as the European Central Bank offered another €529.5 billion in low interest loans to 800 financial institutions. The markets were also alarmed to hear that Ireland has decided to hold a referendum on whether or not to sign the European Fiscal Treaty. This will ultimately be a vote on whether or not Ireland stay in the euro. The European Union economic summit is now under way where the Euro zone finance ministers will review Greece's progress on meeting the conditions set out to receive its €130 billion bailout. This week, G20 leaders (ministers from the 20 major global economies) called on the Euro zone to increase the €500 billion bailout fund; however, it will not be discussed at the current economic summit.



There was a mix of data out this week with pending home sales figures, consumer confidence and preliminary GDP data all coming in better than expected; however, the markets had not anticipated the poor durable goods data that was released.  The Chairman of the Federal bank spoke twice this week where he expressed his feelings that the economy is improving due to a raft of better than expected unemployment data and he also noted that with inflation under control the plan is to keep interest rates low until late 2014; without any explicit suggestion that the bank have been planning for further quantitative easing. Furthermore, figures released yesterday showed that the number of new people filing for unemployment benefit has dropped to a four year low.



Elsewhere, there was a large amount of data out this week including improving Chinese PMI Manufacturing figures, rising retail sales from Australia and better than expected Swiss GDP. In other news the International Monetary Fund suggested that currency intervention was a viable option for developing countries meaning we may see more central banks manipulating currency exchange rates in the future. Out late last night there was a raft of data out of Japan and the main release today is the Canadian GDP figures.



Supplied by Nick Ryder of Smart Currency Exchange, the currency partner to Harpers Wine and Spirit who have teamed up with Smart to provide readers with a free bespoke currency service. Go to for more information or call on 0207 898 0500.