30 December 2020: Growing infection rates offset Brexit

Growing infection rates offset Brexit

30th December: Highlights

  • Sterling inches higher in thin trade
  • The cheque’s in the post but spend or save?
  • Euro shows an unexpected degree of resilience

Record levels threaten to overwhelm hospitals

The UK is facing a tightening of Covd-19 restrictions after new infections topped 50k on Monday for the first time since the Pandemic began last March.

The Cabinet met last evening with scientists demanding that the entire country be placed under tier four restrictions. Any changes will be announced later today.

With the Government needing to balance the economic needs of the country with the safety of its citizens some difficult choices are going to need to be made.

MPs will vote later today on the Bill to accept the terms of the agreement between London and Brussels on trade and the future relationship. In his speech later today, Boris Johnson will say that Britain will be able to trade unencumbered with its European neighbours while able to keep control of its laws and destiny.

While this looks like the end of the road for remain campaigners there is still a degree of disagreement in Parliament. The Scottish Nationalists will vote against while Labour is, again, racked by infighting.

While Brexit brought down two Conservative Prime Ministers it has also had a devastating effect on the socialist Labour Party. The inability of the Party to agree a position over Brexit and stick to it has seen it dispatched to the Political wilderness for the next four years at least.

The pound continues to trade in the glow of the Brexit agreement but is also now facing the reality of the growing problem of Coronavirus. As predicted, the second wave is proving to be at least as virulent as the first with the addition of a fast-spreading new strain a major concern.

Yesterday, Sterling traded between 1.3557 and 1.3492, closing at 1.3549.

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Business closures continue to rise

Coronavirus and its effect on the economy is going to be the first major issue that incoming President Joe Biden is going to face when he takes the reins in just over three weeks’ time.

With Democrat values being far more inward looking than the Republicans who were more global in their policies it was always going to be the economy, social welfare, and support for those affected by the pandemic that drives the new Administration.

Biden will face disagreement from Republicans over spending but he has a far less confrontational attitude to discussion than his predecessor so it is likely that a middle ground will be found.

As far as the economy goes. jobs programs to get the country back to work will be the major initiative as jobless numbers continue to creep up and any recovery appears to have stalled.

Biden will be supportive of State Governors, no matter their political affiliation, in the fight against Coronavirus.

The rollout of vaccinations will be hurried through, but it will still face pockets of resistance from citizens keen to exercise their right to freedom of expression.

The dollar is in a reactive state as it has been virtually since the election, driven by a number of factors. It still reacts to the market’s attitude to risk but with a more economically and socially responsible Administration about to take over that may be about to change as the most significant driver.

Yesterday, the dollar index fell to a low of 89.71, closing just above the low at 89.73.

Dollar index continues to falter giving the euro a boost

It has been an odd year for the single currency. It has been mostly driven by its majority in the makeup of the dollar index. Given the state of the economy, the ability of the EU commission to deliver, and Brexit, the fact that it is going to close close to its year’s high is something of a miracle.

The value of currencies is no longer any sort of measure of a country’s economic prospects past, present or future. Using fundamental or technical analysis to predict the trajectory of any currency is becoming more difficult but in the case of the euro it is nigh on impossible.

It is hard to see how the link between the dollar index and the euro can be broken as the two are inextricably tied together.

The dollar index has become a major tool so its hedging through its component parts is natural.

Be that as it may, the eurozone still faces a series of tough hurdles before it can start to see its recovery from the Pandemic as set in stone. The inability to pass legislation to aid those countries, industries and individuals worst hit by the virus is a significant concern.

A concerted policy on unemployment and exporting outside the borders of the Union are two of the most telling economic issues.

Until the ECB is supported by a Treasury that works on fiscal issues it will continue to try to balance dual roles and face the prospect of failing with both.

Christening Lagarde has had a tough first year in charge but has been able to make a start on building a relationship between the Central Bank and the EU Commission but far more work is necessary to seal a bond of trust with Ursula von der Leyen.

Yesterday, the single currency reacted to the fall in the dollar index by making a high of 1.2294 and closing at 1.2287.

Have a great day!
About Alan Hill

Alan has been involved in the FX market for more than 25 years and brings a wealth of experience to his content. His knowledge has been gained while trading through some of the most volatile periods of recent history. His commentary relies on an understanding of past events and how they will affect future market performance.”