The Pound Euro (GBP EUR) exchange rate fluctuated this morning as UK Retail Sales printed far lower than expected last month.
Following upbeat sales growth of 1.6% in February, sales contracted -1.5% in March, shocking economists who had predicted a drop to -0.2%.
The dramatic fall in sales was attributed to the decline of Sterling since the Brexit vote, with analysts believing that consumers are really beginning to feel the pinch as inflation soars amid slowing wage growth.
However, the Pound’s losses were minimised as the same analysts believe that household consumption will not completely drop off as credit is still available and consumer confidence remains high.
Meanwhile the Euro is also under pressure this morning as the French Market remains in focus ahead of the election later this weekend.
Current polls suggest that independent, centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron enjoys a slight edge over his rivals, with the far-right Eurosceptic Marine Le Pen trailing close behind.
However following the political upsets of Trump and Brexit last year, EUR investors remain wary of committing to the Euro ahead of Sunday’s vote, especially with the chance for it to result in a second round run off between left-wing veteran Jean-Luc Melenchon and Le Pen, who both push an anti-EU agenda.
Markets are also concerned following the terror attack in Paris yesterday evening, as it could cause Le Pen’s strong national security and anti-immigration message to resonate with the electorate. As Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK explains;
‘In light of last night’s terrorist attack in Paris, which given the tightness of the polls, could influence events, leaving investors to face the prospect of a face-off between Marine Le Pen on the right and Melenchon on the left. Any such outcome is unlikely to be well received by the markets.’
Looking ahead, the GBP EUR exchange rate is likely to tumble next week as UK data is expected to underperform, with a predicted fall in Britain’s first quarter GDP figures likely to weigh heavily on the Pound.
Meanwhile German Business and Consumer Confidence figures are expected to present an upbeat outlook for the Eurozone’s largest economy next week, likely strengthening the Euro.
Current Interbank Exchange Rates
At the time of writing the GBP EUR exchange rate was trending around 1.19 and the EUR GBP exchange rate was trending around 0.83.