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Sterling slides on slower GDP, BoE may hold next week

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By Craig Erlam  

The UK economy contracted faster than expected in July, which is weighing on the pound Wednesday morning.

GDP fell 0.5%, faster than the 0.2% contraction expected, but as has been the case throughout this year, one-off factors played a big role.

Strikes and the weather were largely to blame for the steep decline, although some are clearly worried that overall momentum in the economy remains weak.

I’m not sure the data will really sway the Bank of England at all next week. Not against the backdrop of such strong wage growth, as was reported on Monday.

Overly cautious

Markets are now pricing in a rate hike at around 75% which seems overly cautious, but then, perhaps BoE Governor Andrew Bailey’s words last week continue to ring in the ears of traders.

The Governor and his colleagues indicated the discussion will be more balanced than people seem to think, which suggested a hold is very much on the table this month.

That seems a little far-fetched at this stage and the words are probably intended for a little further down the line in November. But then it wouldn’t be the first time the BoE has surprised us.

That said, it also wouldn’t be the first time they’ve hinted at something and not followed through.

 

Craig Erlam is Senior Market Analyst, UK & EMEA at OANDA

Opinions are the author’s, not necessarily that of OANDA Global Corporation or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers or directors. Leveraged trading is high risk and not suitable for all. Losses can exceed investments.