The pound fell to a five-month low on Friday, as the dollar rallied across the board in volatile trading. The dollar had also dropped in Asian and early London trading, then regained all its losses and went onto post sharp gains against the safe-haven yen as stock markets recovered globally amid efforts made by governments to tackle the coronavirus outbreak. By the late afternoon, the British currency had fallen 1.6%.
The pound was down more than 5% across the week, marking its most significant weekly drop since January 2009. The pound has mostly followed volatile moves in global markets this week, with stimulus measures from the Bank of England and the government, including an interest rate cut and billions of pounds for struggling firms.
Sterling will remain under pressure due to its exposure to major export markets, including the US and Europe, according to some analysts. Against the euro, the pound weakened 0.5%.
GBPUSD opened at 1.2575 and fell sharply to a close at 1.2353 before continuing to fall to an evening low of 1.2275
GBPEUR opened at 1.1258 and followed similarly, closing at a 1.1159 and hitting an evening low of 1.1019
The dollar surged on Friday, making gains against the safe-haven Japanese yen as stock markets recovered globally due to governments and policymakers moving to address the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak. The dollar also benefited after President Donald Trump declared a US. national emergency over the spread of the coronavirus on Friday, releasing more federal aid to combat the outbreak.
Wider spreads in the cross-currency basis swap market suggested increased signs of US dollar shortage for corporates seeking funding. In afternoon trading, the dollar gained 3.2% against the yen. The dollar also rallied versus another safe-haven, the Swiss franc, rising 0.6%. Against a basket of currencies, the dollar gained 1%.
The euro took losses despite the European Central Bank policymakers’ efforts to reassure markets. European assets sold off on Thursday after the bank’s stimulus measures underwhelmed investors. The euro was last down 0.7%. The ECB on Thursday announced a stimulus package that provides loans to banks with rates as low as -0.75% and increases bond purchases, but it did not go as far as cutting rates.
EURUSD opened at 1.1180 and fell sharply across the day, closing near a low at 1.1070