GBP/AUD – UK Retail Sales hurt Sterling
The Australian Dollar has strengthened against the Pound of late due to retail sales data coming in lower than expectations on Friday.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals the data for both year on year and month on month changes. Retail sales volume was up 1.6% year on year in January, an increase from the previous period 1.5%, but still well below the expected 2.5%.
The monthly growth rate for the quantity bought increased by 0.1% with declines across all main sectors except non-food stores. The results were buoyed by small rise in the purchase of sporting equipment due to the January gym rush this helped offset a fall food sales.
The results were taken as negative and Sterling has suffered as a result.
Richard Lim, Chief Executive of the research consultancy Retail Economics stated the following:
‘Following a wave of profit warning and job cut announcements, these figures confirm a terrible start to the year for retailers. Indeed the worst January since 2013’.
Interest Rate Forecast from the RBA
Philip Lowe, Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia spoke on Friday and stated that a rate hike would be dependent on inflation rising and further falls in unemployment. He did however say that in regards to a change in monetary policy the RBA would ‘move interest rates up, rather than down’. Inflation is s ac concern down under but Lowe said a strengthening global economy would help put inflation back on the agenda. These statements did cause the Aussie to strengthen against the majority of major currencies. Personally I would be surprised to see a rate hike this year.
Iron Ore Crucial to the value of AUD
Iron Ore is Australia’s biggest export, predominantly to the Chinese. Fluctuations in the price of Iron Ore has a result on the Aussie. Metal Bulletin’s Iron Ore index climbed to the Highest level since January 2011 which bodes well for the Australian Dollar.
I am of the opinion the Pound is chronically undervalued at present. Brexit uncertainty is currently anchoring Sterling and will do until we have clarity on a Brexit deal.
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