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Monthly Currency Update for April 2019

  • The UK's Brexit talks strongly influenced the major sterling currency pairs in March, as MPs debated the UK's exit from the EU. This may continue in April.

  • The pound to euro interbank exchange ended last month close to where it started, as the Brexit negotiations weigh both on the UK's and Eurozone's economic outlook.

  • The GBP to USD interbank exchange rate fell in March, as investors bought the US dollar as a safe haven asset from Brexit. That said, the US economy is decelerating.

  • The sterling to Aussie dollar interbank exchange rate weakened last month, as the UK's Brexit uncertainty makes Australia’s economy seem comparatively stable.

Pound to euro

The pound to euro interbank exchange rate ended March close to where it began, around 1.16-1.1650. Why? Well, a big factor is the UK's Brexit negotiations.

March was a rollercoaster ride for the Brexit talks, in which MPs voted to rule out a 'No Deal', Prime Minister Theresa May offered to resign, and the EU extended the deadline. In spite of that though, we still don't know when the UK will exit the EU, and on what terms.

So this helps explain why sterling finished last month near where it started. Also, looking to April, Brexit looks likely to be the biggest influence on the exchange rate.

Pound to US dollar

The GBP to USD interbank exchange rate weakened by -1.13% in March to 1.31. If you're planning to transfer money from the USA to the UK in the near future, this may be of interest to you.

Why did sterling weaken versus the buck? Well, the UK's uncertain Brexit talks are a clear explanation. In particular, as the UK's exit from the EU remains up-in-the-air, investors often buy the US dollar, as a safe haven asset, thus lifting the greenback.

That said, looking forward, the US economy's growing deceleration could increasingly influence the value of the pound versus the US dollar too.

Pound to Australian dollar

The sterling to Aussie dollar interbank exchange rate fell by -1.07% in March, to around 1.8450. In part, this is because the UK's unclear Brexit negotiations make Australia a more attractive investment destination, giving Australia's relative stability.

In addition, looking to April, the Brexit talks could continue to greatly affect the GBP to AUD exchange rate.

That said, in March, Australia's economy showed clear signs of slowing. For example, Australia created just 4,600 new jobs in February, far below forecasts, while houses prices fell by -5.1%. So this too may influence the rate.

Pound to New Zealand dollar

The pound to New Zealand dollar interbank exchange rate fell by -0.77% last month, to around 1.9250. As with the other major currency pairs, this is in part because of the UK's Brexit uncertainty, and Brexit looks set to remain a major influence on the exchange rate in April.

However, in addition, New Zealand's growing economic weakness could also influence the value of sterling versus the kiwi. For example, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand has signalled that it's likely to cut interest rates, below 1.75%. Also, kiwi business confidence fell this month, says ANZ.

Pound to Canadian dollar

The GBP to CAD interbank exchange rate ended March close to where it started, at 1.75. As with the other major currency pairs, the UK's Brexit talks strongly influenced the value of sterling versus the loonie dollar last month, and could continue to do so.

That said, Canada's economic weakness also affected the rate, and may do so in April too. For example, Canada's retail sales fell by -0.3% in January, well below forecasts for a 0.4% rise. What's more, Canada's trade deficit expanded to -CA$4.25 billion in January, above financial markets' predictions for just -CA$3.5 billion.

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