Forex Today: Pound Sterling edges higher after UK inflation data, US markets closed

Here is what you need to know on Wednesday, June 19:

Pound Sterling clings to small gains early Wednesday as investors assess May inflation data ahead of the Bank of England's (BoE) monetary policy announcements on Thursday. The economic calendar will not offer any high-tier data releases and financial markets in the US will remain closed in observance of the Juneteenth holiday.

The UK's Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that inflation, as measured by the change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), declined to 2% on a yearly basis in May from 2.3% in April. This reading came in line with the market expectation. The Core CPI, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, rose 3.5% in the same period, while the Retail Price Index increased 3%. Despite softer inflation readings, GBP/USD edged higher and was last seen trading near 1.2720.

UK CPI inflation falls to 2.0% YoY in May, returns to BoE’s target.

British Pound PRICE Today

The table below shows the percentage change of British Pound (GBP) against listed major currencies today. British Pound was the strongest against the New Zealand Dollar.

USD   0.09% -0.11% -0.09% 0.01% -0.23% 0.10% -0.08%
EUR -0.09%   -0.21% -0.17% -0.09% -0.31% 0.03% -0.17%
GBP 0.11% 0.21%   0.02% 0.12% -0.11% 0.23% 0.05%
JPY 0.09% 0.17% -0.02%   0.10% -0.13% 0.21% 0.02%
CAD -0.01% 0.09% -0.12% -0.10%   -0.24% 0.08% -0.08%
AUD 0.23% 0.31% 0.11% 0.13% 0.24%   0.36% 0.17%
NZD -0.10% -0.03% -0.23% -0.21% -0.08% -0.36%   -0.19%
CHF 0.08% 0.17% -0.05% -0.02% 0.08% -0.17% 0.19%  

The heat map shows percentage changes of major currencies against each other. The base currency is picked from the left column, while the quote currency is picked from the top row. For example, if you pick the British Pound from the left column and move along the horizontal line to the US Dollar, the percentage change displayed in the box will represent GBP (base)/USD (quote).

The US Dollar (USD) struggled to gather strength on Tuesday following the mixed macroeconomic data releases and comments from Federal Reserve (Fed) officials. Retail Sales in the US rose less than expected in May but Industrial Production grew at a faster pace than forecast. The USD Index registered small losses on the day but held comfortably above 105.00. Early Wednesday, the USD Index fluctuates in a tight channel at around 105.30.

EUR/USD climbed to a daily high above 1.0760 but failed to gather bullish momentum. The pair stays under modest bearish pressure and trades below 1.0750 in the European morning on Wednesday.

The minutes of the Bank of Japan's April policy meeting showed that policymakers discussed how recent depreciation in the Japanese Yen could affect underlying inflation. Earlier in the day, the data from Japan showed that Exports grew 13.5% on a yearly basis in May, while Imports increased 9.5%. After closing the last four trading days in positive territory, USD/JPY edges lower and trades below 158.00 in the European morning on Wednesday.

Gold registered small gains on Tuesday as the benchmark 10-year US Treasury bond yield failed to built on Monday's rebound. XAU/USD stays in a consolidation phase at around $2,330 in the early European session.

Inflation FAQs

Inflation measures the rise in the price of a representative basket of goods and services. Headline inflation is usually expressed as a percentage change on a month-on-month (MoM) and year-on-year (YoY) basis. Core inflation excludes more volatile elements such as food and fuel which can fluctuate because of geopolitical and seasonal factors. Core inflation is the figure economists focus on and is the level targeted by central banks, which are mandated to keep inflation at a manageable level, usually around 2%.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures the change in prices of a basket of goods and services over a period of time. It is usually expressed as a percentage change on a month-on-month (MoM) and year-on-year (YoY) basis. Core CPI is the figure targeted by central banks as it excludes volatile food and fuel inputs. When Core CPI rises above 2% it usually results in higher interest rates and vice versa when it falls below 2%. Since higher interest rates are positive for a currency, higher inflation usually results in a stronger currency. The opposite is true when inflation falls.

Although it may seem counter-intuitive, high inflation in a country pushes up the value of its currency and vice versa for lower inflation. This is because the central bank will normally raise interest rates to combat the higher inflation, which attract more global capital inflows from investors looking for a lucrative place to park their money.

Formerly, Gold was the asset investors turned to in times of high inflation because it preserved its value, and whilst investors will often still buy Gold for its safe-haven properties in times of extreme market turmoil, this is not the case most of the time. This is because when inflation is high, central banks will put up interest rates to combat it. Higher interest rates are negative for Gold because they increase the opportunity-cost of holding Gold vis-a-vis an interest-bearing asset or placing the money in a cash deposit account. On the flipside, lower inflation tends to be positive for Gold as it brings interest rates down, making the bright metal a more viable investment alternative.


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