ETF Securities Research Blog

Finally, the market has it right for the Bank of England…but not for GBP…

Market expectations for the Bank of England (BOE) indicate that it is almost a forgone conclusion that a rate hike will be announced by the BOE this week. This wasn’t always the case. Until September, expectations for a rate hike this year had bounced between around 10% to 60%, and mostly toward the bottom end of that range. So why does the market have pricing wrong for GBP?

The turmoil surrounding Brexit negotiations and the uncertainty over the future economic arrangements have been a key reasons why investors have believed it unlikely that the BOE would raise interest rates. Indeed, the rebound in GBP stalled as European Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier and his UK counterpart David Davis traded uneasy statements back-and-forth about the status of the discussions. However, ongoing inflation pressure, a more hawkish tone from BOE Governor Carney and resilient economic numbers have been the reasons for our long held view that the BOE would hike rates in 2017. The knee jerk rate cut triggered by the EU referendum result in June 2016 has proven to have been unnecessary and the current aggressively accommodative stance of the central bank is now counter to its objective of price stability.

eurgbp rates

While GBP appears well valued against the US Dollar, real interest rate differentials between the Eurozone and the UK are supportive of further gains in GBP against the Euro. Indeed, we expect further downside for the Euro, which we feel remains overvalued, with the European Central Bank ECB) striking a much more cautious tone than the BOE. Although ECB President Draghi has announced a ‘downsize’ of its asset purchase program, he noted the need for ‘continued support from monetary policy’ as ‘domestic price pressures are still muted’. With no rate hikes on the horizon, investor positioning looks stretched, hovering near record highs, and EUR/GBP will move back into the 0.84-0.88 range it was trading in for the majority of 2017. Market consensus for EUR/GBP is for 0.90 by year-end. So while the market has it right for the BOE, it has it wrong for GBP.

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