A reversal of fortunes saw the euro move close to the front of the field, two thirds of a cent behind the US dollar, while the pound lost two euro cents and only narrowly avoided last place. Sterling continued with its recent habit of vacillating between success and failure: on five of the last ten working days it came top among the major currencies and on four it took the wooden spoon. The swings had precious little to do with economic reality or hard data: one of its losses came after The Times speculated about the possibility of a second Scottish independence referendum.
In the US financial futures were pricing in a 30% chance that the Federal Reserve would increase its benchmark funds rate on 15 March. Today that likelihood is up to 90% following a string of senior Fed officials speaking out about the need for a rate hike “soon”. The enhanced expectation helped the dollar into top position for the week.
Perhaps the most important ecostat of the week was the provisional reading for Euroland inflation. It came in at 2%, hitting the European Central Bank’s target. That single figure is unlikely to affect ECB policy but in the longer run, once it moves above 2%, it must.
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