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Global Exchange

Exchange Rates for Wednesday 17th September 2014

UK employment figures improve so can today’s UK retail sales follow suit and boost Sterling?

With the UK economy flat-lining and further quantitative easing on the horizon usually means that Sterling suffers but that hasn't been the case so far this week with UK data supporting Sterling and not working against it. On Tuesday it was the inflation figures that helped Sterling and yesterday it was a slight improvement in UK employment.

The number of new job seeker claims went down by 5,900 in July and the June increase was revised lower by 5,100. It meant that overall unemployment declined from 8.1% to 8.0%. Inevitably there will be a suspicion that the improvement was driven by the Olympic games it is nevertheless welcome.

At the same time as the unemployment data, the Bank of England released the minutes of the monetary policy committee's (MPC) August meeting which were less helpful. The result was positive enough; all nine members voted to leave the asset purchase programme on hold. But the minutes revealed that some members favoured increasing it in the future and this month's decision was "finely balanced".

It meant Sterling was finely balanced on Wednesday too. It went up against the Euro, the Swiss Franc and the Japanese Yen, it moved lower against the Canadian, Australian and New Zealand dollars and it was steady against the US dollar.

In the US, the data on Wednesday showed inflation slowed to 1.4% and industrial production increasing by 0.6% in July. There was a ray of light from the NAHB housing market index, which improved by two points to 37, its highest level in five years.

There isn't a lot of data due today from the UK except for UK retail sales with the Europe providing it's latest inflation data which is expected to be steady at 2.4%. Canada reveals international investment flows for June and the US figures cover building permits, housing starts, weekly jobless claims and the Philadelphia Fed's manufacturing index.

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