The Australian dollar made some significant gains against sterling during yesterday’s trading after the Australian unemployment rate for March rose at a slower rate than had been originally anticipated. This is in stark contrast to many other nations, especially within Europe, where unemployment has been rising sharply due to the strict lockdown measures in place amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, whilst measures have been slightly less strict in Australia. Analysts have suggested however, that the figure could be significantly higher for April once lockdown measures started to become more stringent.
This news was followed by further positive sentiment in Australia, where they believe that they are starting to control the spread of the virus with their current social distancing measures. Professor Jodie McVernon of the Doherty Institute in Australia, which develops treatments for infectious diseases, has stated ‘Our best estimate at the moment in Australia is for every 10 infectious cases, they’re only reproducing another five and this shows our epidemic at the moment is in decline’, and went on to say that this is as a result of the measures put in place by the Australian Government to this point. The Government has said it won’t become complacent and social distancing measures will stay in place for the foreseeable.
UK retail sales figures drop by 27% and a quarter of businesses temporarily cease trading
Meanwhile in the UK yesterday, sentiment was far more negative, and retail sales figures announced showed that spending has dropped by more than a quarter, whilst many firms have temporarily closed due to the impact of the virus. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) stated, “The closure of non-essential shops led to deserted high streets and high double-digit declines in sales which even a rise in online shopping could not compensate for.”
A further report from the Office for national statistics stated that 25% of businesses had temporarily stopped trading due to the virus and that a fifth of workers in businesses that are still open have been placed on furlough. This negative news comes after predictions that the UK economy will sump by as much as 35% between April-June this year and therefore we have seen the pound weaken under this uncertainty and negative sentiment.
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