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It's surprising to see all currencies unchanged on the month, despite some strength in the pound during June. There is a lot of activity amongst Chancellors and Central Banks to stimulate the various economies out of the COVID scenario, but potentially the impact will be relatively neutral as all will purely look to stimulate their respective economy. Perhaps more concerning is will there be a significant second wave somewhere in the world? The hang over of financial stimulus is also going to be a major concern and how economies deal with this. Will we enter a period of inflation or deflation, as some EU adviser fear?
This month the focus has been on who is providing the largest overall stimulus to their respective economies and how are we all going to pay for it? With a global recession upon us and no one really knows the shape of things to come. Rising unemployment throughout the world will impact on demand. Of course, the other issues are negative interest rates, not seen by many of us before and the impact they have on banks and the financial sector particularly, as well as on us as individuals. Finally, the growing antagonism between China and the USA, and to some extent the rest of the world will have an impact, increasing in intensity as we gradually lift out of this situation into the new world order.
Who knows! The markets will daily interpret the news stories and respond as they see fit as to which region is responding or recovering the best/fastest. All are suffering and government spending is supporting each economy. The recovery will depend on both domestic and international demand.
In the UK it is the end of the financial year, and it has been a month of huge financial stimulus due to COVID-19, and perhaps to some degree it has worked since the FX rates today are not too far off the end of February. The major concern going forward, and it is perhaps too early to be concerned is the impact on the US$ of the huge financial stimulus, plus the anticipated rise in the unemployment rate is going to put their economy under huge pressure.
Who knows what is in store for the global economy as the Covid-19 virus gathers momentum outside China. For sure the expectation is for governmental stimulus to try and stave off a global recession, not seen since 2008. But on top of this we have unrest in the Turkey/Syria region, EU/UK and US/UK trade talks commencing, a near 15% drop in stock markets globally and the oil price dropping below $50/barrel as demand drops in China.
Well, Brexit is done, but both sides are starting the negotiation on the post transition agreement and are taking fairly hard lines as expected. Markets initially favoured Sterling, but this was short lived and are now looking for direction. The Corona virus has impacted oil prices and stock markets. The Chinese government has injected large amounts of cash to stabilise the situation, but obviously this situation will run for some time …
The New Year has injected huge uncertainty into the FX markets, with President Trump’s actions in the Gulf, and any subsequent fall out. In addition the race to complete ideally a ‘Free Trade’ Brexit by 31st December 2020, will put some pressure on Sterling until the mechanism is clear. The pending March budget in the UK will also impact Sterling, as the end to austerity will have an impact on government borrowing etc …
Lots of volatility on markets this period, all caused by sudden realization of crop performance, increased demand, weather and specification challenges, Generally all bad news with tightening supply and firming prices. There are one or two exceptions, but that’s all. Organic supply is becoming tricky too, both from China and elsewhere. In China many suppliers are opting out due to the tough EU regulations imposed unexpectedly last January. We hear of pesticide issues from North America, and supply problem from Eastern Europe. Everything looks like a worsening supply situation and higher prices. But at least the product is likely to be Organic!
Volatility is the name of the game; Brexit, trade wars, US global policing, dropping US$ interest rates, pending EU recession all impact currency, with no clear direction for any. Essentially it is best to convert to local currency and forget these days.