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Weekly Financial Market Review - Comment for the 16th January 2017 - 20th January 2017

Information supplied by AIB

Sterling has continued to be hampered by Brexit, with concerns being raised about the uncertainty over the UK’s negotiating strategy and risk of a ‘hard’ exit from the EU.   

There is a busy schedule of data releases in the UK. Most of the focus will be on the latest raft of labour market figures, after data for the three months to October showed a weakening jobs market (employment fell for first time since Q2’15). The unemployment rate is anticipated to edge up to 4.9% in November, while the timelier claimant count is expected to rise for a fifth consecutive month in December. Meantime, average earnings growth looks set to remain subdued.  
However, despite the somewhat softer labour market data, UK retail sales are forecast to continue to improve in December. This backs up other data which indicate that the UK economy continued to grow at a healthy pace in Q4. Although, Consumer Price Index inflation looks set to rise further (forecast at 1.4%) in December. Rising prices may soon begin to temper the performance of the consumer side of the economy. In terms of Brexit, a major speech on the issue by the Prime Minster, Theresa May, on Tuesday, will garner significant attention.   

Exchange Rate Forecasts (Mid-Point of Range)

Current End Q1 2017 End Q2 2017 End Q3 2017
EUR/USD 1.0622 1.04 1.02 1.01
EUR/GBP 0.8743 0.87 0.88 0.89
EUR/JPY 122.32 123 122 123
GBP/USD 1.2147 1.20 1.16 1.13
USD/JPY 115.12 118 120 122

Current Rates Reuters, Forecasts AIB's ERU