British Pound Sinks as Carney Hints at More Easing

January 28, 2013

 The British Pound broadly underperformed in overnight trade, down against its top counterparts. The selloff followed comments from incoming Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, who is due to replace the current BOE chief Mervyn King in July. Carney said central banks have not “maxed out” the possibilities for further stimulus and may do more, stressing the need to achieve “escape velocity” as developed economies struggle to pick up pace in the aftermath of the Great Recession. The remarks hinted that Carney will pursue further accommodation when he takes the reins at Threadneedle Street.

A quiet economic calendar in European hours is likely to see forex traders looking ahead to the US data docket for directional guidance. December’s Durable Goods Orders report is in focus, with economists forecasting a 2 percent month-on-month increase, yielding the largest increase in three months. US releases have increasingly fallen short of expectations since late December (according to data from Citigroup) however, warning of a vulnerability to downside surprises as the markets’ outlook is adjusted lower. Pending Home Sales and the Dallas Fed’s Manufacturing Activity Survey are also on tap, with softer outcomes penciled in for both.

On the corporate earnings front, cycle-sensitive Caterpillar Inc is due to report fourth-quarter results. Expectations suggest sales fell 2.3 percent compared with the third quarter while earnings declined from $2.260 to $1.703 per share. Traders are likely to be most concerned with the company’s guidance however as they continue to build the outlook for global growth against a backdrop of lingering uncertainty on the US fiscal policy front. Indeed, while forecasts from the IMF, the World Bank and private-sector economists (as polled by Bloomberg) argue for a modest pickup in 2013, a large dose of austerity from Washington DC may meaningfully change the landscape.

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