1. Virus Situation
The UK’s vaccination success has been a key driver of positive sentiment for GBP from the start of 2021 and has meant the county is on the verge of completely removing covid restrictions from the 19th of July. As long as the reopening moves forward as planned it should provide support for the GBP in the med-term .
Markets were expecting a hawkish tilt from the BOE at their June meeting with Gilt yields, SONIA and Sterling pushing higher into the meeting. The bank took a more balanced view by sticking to a transitory outlook and also slightly tempering the more aggressive rate path expectations going into the meeting. As a result, GBP, Yields and SONIA unwound their pre-meeting upside, The short-lived downside has played out and that means focus for Sterling should be back on the med-term outlook, where the BoE is still expected as the next in line to tilt more hawkish, and participants will look towards the August meeting which includes the next MPR . This view was further reinforced this past week when two MPC members (Ramsden & Saunders) gave some pretty upbeat and hawkish comments suggesting that the possibility of tapering will be one of the points of debate during the upcoming meeting and that conditions for tighter policy is materializing faster than previously anticipated. This week we have the most dovish member of the BoE (Haskel) set to talk and all eyes will be on whether he provides a similar hint which would be a positive for Sterling.
3. The country’s economic developments
Hopes of a faster economic recovery has seen both the BOE and IMF upgrade growth projections for the UK economy which has widened the growth differentials between other majors by quite a bit and should continue to be supportive for GBP as long as the data continues to show better-than-expected prints. Something to be mindful of is that a lot of these positives are arguably reflected in the price. Thus, if we start to see some disappointing data, as we have more recently, that could start to weigh on some of the aggressive normalization expectations.
4. Political Developments
Remember Brexit? Yeah, me neither, but it came back into focus in the form of the recent punchy rhetoric between the UK and EU regarding the Northern Ireland Protocol which sparked some concerns about possible sanctions on the UK. Even though issues like chilled meats have made progress, the protocol and Brexit itself is about much more than sausages. The latest issue has been that of the divorce bill, which the UK says is between 35 and 39 billion while EU counterparts says it’s over 40 billion Pounds. For now these challenges won’t change the med-term outlook for Sterling unless it leads to actual trader sanctions or tariffs, which right now seems unlikely.
JPY – FUNDAMENTAL BIAS: BEARISH
1. Safe-haven status and overall risk outlook
As a safe-haven currency, the market’s risk outlook is the primary driver of JPY. Economic data rarely proves market moving; and although expectations can prove highly market-moving in the short-term, safe-haven flows are typically the more dominant factor. The market’s overall risk tone has improved considerably following the pandemic with good news about successful vaccinations, and ongoing monetary and fiscal policy support paved the way for markets to expect a robust global economic recovery. Of course, there remains many uncertainties and many countries are continuing to fight virus waves, but as a whole the outlook has kept on improving over the past couple of months, which would expect safe-haven demand to diminish and result in a outlook for the JPY.
2. Low-yielding currency with inverse correlation to US10Y
As a low yielding currency, the JPY usually shares an inverse correlation to strong moves in yield differentials, more specifically in strong moves in US10Y . However, like most correlations, the strength of the inverse correlation between the JPY and US10Y is not perfect and will ebb and flow dependent on the type of market environment from a risk and cycle point of view. Even though the correlation was exceptionally strong from the start of the year, we have started to see some breakdown in the correlation over the past few weeks. However, after the FOMC’s recent communication has improved the outlook for the US Dollar we would expect the low yielders like the JPY to remain pressured against the greenback which could see a weaker correlation develop with US10Y and see a continued bias titled higher for the USDJPY .