Today’s news of European countries easing lockdowns has seen a slight movement in pound to euro exchange rates with sterling moving higher by 0.2 percent. France and Spain announce their tentative easing of lockdown which had been in full effect for 55 days in France. Spain have devised that regions where their hospitals have the operational capacity to withstand a second wave of COVID-19 have been allowed to reopen alongside bars and restaurants who can now allow half of their outdoor seating up to the public again. Additionally, museums, theaters and churches have reopened at limited capacity. Despite the easing of these measures, both EU member states have clearly highlighted the importance of remaining 2 meters apart as social distancing is set to be one of the last measures to be retracted as we edge further away from what appears to be the peak of the virus.
The same approach was also applied to the UK as PM Boris Johnson stated in yesterday’s Coronavirus speech that certain industries, such as construction, will be allowed to return to work as of today. The message sent has been only if you require to perform work outside of your home then you are permitted to do so but all other home-based workers shall remain as normal.
Little Market Movement for Euro Exchange Rates
As to the effect this has had on the markets, the GBPEUR mid-market exchange rate had not significantly moved in either direction with the Euro making just a 0.3 cent inroad from 1.144 on the end of Friday’s trading down to 1.141 today. Again, these have just been minimal undulations over the past few weeks more volatility will be based around the effect the eased lockdown will have on its European citizens.
For the EURUSD, there was slightly more volatility but still nothing particularly substantial as the weekend saw a shift for euro strength from 1.24 down to 1.2365. Following a similar pattern to the GBPEUR, albeit with larger differences between their troughs and peaks, has not been moving in any particular direction since April through to Mid-May showing the great difficultly that the markets face in establishing which nations are more virus-hit than others.
Presently, all nations remain cautious about the reduced lockdowns as without a fully developed vaccine, the threat of a second virus wave is still very much at the forefront of government policies in gradually moving things back into a “new normal”. Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez has also made such claims stating that “The fight against the epidemic is continuing because it has not been extinguished, nor will it be extinguished until we find a vaccine or a definitive therapeutic remedy”. It might be expected that until that moment in time, the markets will remain very cautious and sensitive to any data movements that suggest that the virus cases and deaths are beginning to spike again. All eyes will be focused on these statistics this week as it could determine whether it was too premature to reopen borders and lockdowns despite the global economic contractions the world is anticipated to move into. The Financial Times have even predicted that by just this year alone, the UK could have a 14% GDP shortfall which is creating some of the urgency for these three nations to help recover their struggling economies.
Economic Data Due out This Week That May Impact GBPEUR
The Eurozone data releases are light on the ground for the first half of the week with events only picking up on Thursday with the Year-On-Year Harmonized Consumer Price Index (CPI) giving some more insight into the costs of living and public spending. This release on Thursday will be a good statistic to remember as it can be used as a helpful comparison to the next CPI release to demonstrate the difference the reduced lockdown will have on domestic expenditure alongside the ability to generate further predictions on the duration of recovery time the Bloc will need to heal its contracted economies.
Lastly, Friday will bring the Eurozone’s economic powerhouse Germany’s GDP Q1 at 6am as well as overall GDP for the Bloc at 9am which has always been a reliable data release to evaluate the economic state of a nation. Given the currently state of affairs, it is highly unlikely that these publications will bring any euro strength but would be one to watch if investors are considering buying the single-currency as any sudden drops could represent some short-term windows for better trading levels.
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