Greece currency trap

Bank exchange rates are you being ripped off by your bank

The fairground attraction that is the Greek political environment continued to spew out more and more rumour and rubbish yesterday with it now seeming that, for all the talk of a referendum and a democratic process, this was merely a ruse by George Papandreou to get opposition leaders to agree to his proposals. The confidence vote in George Papandreou is still going ahead but is not due until late tonight. Reuters reported that the PM would be happy to stand down even after a successful confidence vote which of course makes no sense but we have all been quick to learn that very little does when you involve politicians. Unfortunately the euro was at the behest of these people and swung in a 1.5% range over the course of the day against the dollar, eventually ending up by around 0.5%.

The main cause of euro weakness yesterday was the ECB deciding to cut rates in a move that surprised the majority of analysts. Even though we have been arguing for a rate cut from the ECB for a while we thought that they would wait until December and use a 50bps slash to show they mean business. Much like in 2008 the ECB has had to reverse a string of rate hikes as the continent teeters on the brink of a recession. It’s good to have seen the new ECB governor Mario Draghi come out swinging and hopefully this will form part of a concerted effort to drag the Eurozone economy off the canvas. We expect another rate cut next month as well to completely erase the rises seen earlier this year. In the press conference, it became obvious that the growth prospects for the Eurozone economy are likely to be revised lower over the next month alongside inflation expectations.

Contagion from the farce that Greece has become is continuing to be seen in other markets. A French auction showed yields rising back to levels that were seen before last week’s agreement while Spanish and Italian bonds yields remain at unsustainable levels. Amongst all this we must remember that Italy is actually the battleground for Q4 2011 and through 2012. Greece is currently the field hospital if I can carry on the analogy and the market has fully priced in the effects of an election and a resumption of its austerity program.

With all that has been going on in Greece it can be easy to forget that today is Non-Farm Payrolls day in the United States; normally the most important measure of the US economy on a monthly basis. The market expects to see a diminished rate of job creation in October with the consensus view at 95k versus 103k in September. September’s figure was boosted in part by the conclusion of a labour dispute at Verizon with the workforce now returning to
payrolls after the end of their strike, while the construction sector (+26k) and professional business services (+48k) posted relatively strong gains in versus recent outturns. Away from the circus in Europe this will be the major driver
during the afternoon after what we expect will be a quiet morning’s trade.

This morning’s data consists of the services PMIs from Europe and its constituent parts as well as EU PPI.

Indicative Rates Sell Buy
GBPEUR 1.1575 1.1602
GBPUSD 1.5989 1.6013
EURUSD 1.3794 1.3816
GBPJPY 124.75 125.01
GBPAUD 1.5412 1.5440
GBPNZD 2.0170 2.0199
GBPCAD 1.6202 1.6232
NZDUSD 0.7918 0.7938
GBPZAR 12.57 12.62
USDZAR 7.8589 7.8975
GBPPLN 5.0109 5.0492
EURJPY 107.63 107.90

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