Curency rates over to you Athens

The world is waiting on Greece to go to the polls on Sunday and the markets are waiting too. Although Greece makes up such a small part of the Eurozone its importance has become magnified because of its lack of fiscal credibility and the possibility that we will see a swan dive out of the single currency sometime soon. Alexis Tsipras’s Syriza party is trying to stay in the Eurozone while reneging on the deals agreed by the previous government and, in turn, asking for more money.

We think there are three possible outcomes from this weekend’s election with a re-run of the previous election, with no clear winner, looking the most likely at the moment. It is then a case of who holds the most votes and the hold that those parties who are for renegotiating the latest fiscal agreements have over the electorate that will decide how large the selloff could be. A New Democracy win could see a euro rally through the early part of Sunday trade while a Syriza majority could spell carnage come Sunday’s Asian open. Traders agree this election has been analysed to death and we will be glad of it not being an issue any more. In the grand scheme of things it doesn’t solve solvency issues in Spain, banking problems in Italy or the general lack of competitiveness in Germany but this is what the market is focusing upon.

We have seen risky assets take a slightly bid tone this morning courtesy of a rumour last night that central banks are standing ready to flood markets with a wave of liquidity in a coordinated strike after the Greek elections if needs be. This has been part of our thoughts for a while now but we doubt we would see something so soon after the election although the G20 are meeting in Mexico this weekend, which provides the perfect opportunity.

Stimulus was on the agenda in the Mansion House speeches of both George Osborne and Mervyn King last night. The main takeaway is a scheme providing cheap finance to banks in exchange for increased lending to UK businesses, something we have asked for for a long while. This may see calls for further QE from the Bank of England diminish in the short term as it is our belief that any further asset purchases would have only a slight effect on the UK economy and be only to the benefit of the banking sector and not the economy at large.

There has been little price action on this or the Bank of Japan’s decision to hold interest rates overnight, with traders loathe to make plays ahead of this weekend’s fun and games from Athens. Today’s trade will be largely dictated by comment from Greece, and Europe as a whole, with a collapse in risk possible before the close as people run for the hills.

Indicative Rates Sell Buy
GBPEUR 1.2279 1.2288
GBPUSD 1.5483 1.5511
EURUSD 1.2614 1.2634
GBPJPY 122.23 122.51
GBPAUD 1.5444 1.5470
GBPNZD 1.9744 1.9773
GBPCAD 1.5845 1.5874
NZDUSD 0.7834 0.7854
GBPZAR 12.95 13.00
USDZAR 8.3585 8.3861
GBPPLN 5.2544 5.2810
EURJPY 99.58 99.84

Please note these rates are “interbank” rates ie they indicate where the market is currently trading and are not indicative of the rates offered. Rates are dependent on amount transacted. It is important to remember that foreign exchange rates fluctuate all the time. The rate you will receive will depend on the amount and currency you require.

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