The pound was unable to find a solid base to bounce yesterday, halting its decline after the UK vaccination campaign faced new hurdles. The country will face a “significant reduction” in dose supplies in April, which means that older people awaiting a second dose will have priority over younger people awaiting their first injection.
Meanwhile, medical regulators in the UK have advised children under 30 not to receive the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine as part of a “course correction” of the country’s deployment plan – a decision prompted by concerns that the injection could be linked to rare blood clots.
The upbeat figures in the construction industry failed to inspire the pound. Current insulation in the UK has not prevented a construction boom, which saw construction activity peaking in six and a half years last month, according to new data. The IHS Markit purchasing managers’ index stood at 61.7 in March, the highest reading since September 2014, as the sector recorded a sharp acceleration from the February reading of 53.3.
According to the latest RICS research findings, buyer’s inquiries, agreed sales and home prices have been re-energized by extending stamp duty holidays. Net Balance 59% of respondents pointed to a rise in house prices at the national level in the most recent survey period. This represents a slight increase in each of the past two months, although the latest reading remains below the recent high of 66% published in October.
However, by this morning, the pound against the dollar fell to 1.36 for the first time in two weeks.
US weekly jobless claims rise unexpectedly
Jobless claims rose unexpectedly in the second week, highlighting the uneven recovery in the US labor market. Initial filings for regular government programs increased from 728,000 to 744,000 in the week ending April 3, according to Labor Department data on Thursday, beating forecasts of a decline to 680,000.
Despite the unexpected increase, the number of applications is still near its lowest level since mid-March last year, when the pandemic caused massive job losses; but still well above the weekly average of about 220,000 per year before the pandemic began.
This week ends in the UK with the release of the Halifax House Price Index and the Bank of England’s First Quarterly Bulletin this morning.
Producer price index (excluding food and energy) will be published in the US today. This indicator of average price changes in US primary markets is projected to rise by two percentage points to 2.7%, potentially providing some support to the dollar.
Contact us using the form below to discuss these factors in more detail before exchanging currency.