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Friday 18 December 2009

2009/2010 Currency Round-Up from Currencies Direct

Watching the price action between Sterling/Euro over the past few months has been like trying to push a dinosaur uphill - slow and frustrating! However, as we end the year it looks like Sterling has moved away from the threat of parity and should mover higher in 2010 with the potential for a 15 % appreciation against the Euro.

The recent bout of Sterling weakness was partly fuelled by comments from the Bank of England(BoE), underling the fact that a weak currency was crucial if the UK was to not only export its way out of the global economic slump, but it would also make the UK a much more attractive proposition for overseas investors.

A clear sign then from the BoE that a weak pound was of no real concern and something they would not look to prevent. With the UK enjoying extremely flexible labour laws and a fairly resistant consumer, the BoE is looking for the pound to take the “bad medicine “ahead of the Euro and bounce back in 2010.

The data coming out of the euro zone has been patchy to say the least, with the strong data out of Germany and France overshadowing the weak data from the rest of the member states,and following the problems in Greece growth in the euro zone in 2010 could lag behind that of the USA and Japan again a problem weighing on the single currency The ratification of the Lisbon treaty by the Irish has gone mainly unnoticed by the currency markets, as it was seen as a forgone conclusion. Going into 2010 what will be of most interest, is how the different member states handle their economies. It was very easy for the European Central Bank (ECB) to slash rates along with the rest of the world. However, as the global economy starts to gather pace, not all member sates will relish higher interest rates. Ireland, Greece, Portugal and Spain will not welcome higher rates and the Germans, with their huge budget surplus, have stated they will not be prepared to subsidise other member states. It could prove a real test of the “European dream”.

In the current climate, currency markets overreact and that is why a move to parity still cannot be ruled out. However, if the UK economy starts to grow and the ever increasing fiscal debt can continue to be sold into the world markets, then a strong move higher in 2010 will happen . With the threat of a double dip recession upon us, and unemployment continuing to rise in the UK and the Euro Zone, it could be the flexibility and agility of the UK economy against the one size fits all policy of the Euro Zone that sparks this move higher.

2010 will prove to be a real test for Europe as the weaker member states who have mishandled their economies during the good times find the currency markets will be very unforgiving in the bad times.

Source- Keith Spitalnick, Currency Direct

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