Most of the economic data from the €Z were better than forecast. Privately-held companies in the services sector reported increased activity. Retail sales were up by 2.5% on the year. Investor confidence improved. First quarter growth in Euroland was revised up to 0.6%, three times that of Britain. The only real cloud was the European Central Bank. It marked down its forecast for inflation, implying that there would be no rush by the Governing Council to tighten monetary policy.
Sterling toddled along quite comfortably until Thursday night. There were no UK ecostats to hurt it and investors grew increasingly confident that the general election would deliver the result predicted by most opinion pollsters; a working majority for the Conservatives. It didn’t, of course, and sterling tumbled when the exit polls were revealed. The euro is up by 0.8% on the week against sterling and unchanged against the US dollar.
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