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Will he, won't he?

Will he, won't he? 

The Pound traded in a tight range versus the US Dollar last week, between interbank levels of 1.4074 and 1.4190. Meanwhile, the Pound marked its 7th consecutive week of gains, closing around 0.19% higher versus the Euro. The date of the UK's full economic reopening appears to be in jeopardy once again, with expectations for a delay of four weeks. Boris Johnson is expected to address the public tonight regarding the restrictions roadmap. The highly transmissible Delta coronavirus variant has been spreading, and a delay in easing restrictions could give more adults the chance to be vaccinated, and potentially help avoid a significant spike in cases. Despite this, Sterling has remained relatively resilient, finding support against the US Dollar at around the $1.41 interbank level. In the week ahead, UK inflation data will be one of the main events, released on Wednesday. It's expected to come in at around 1.8%, just a shade below the Bank of England's 2.0% inflation target—a development which could help to bolster the Pound. Additionally, labour market data will be released, as well as retail stats. BoE Governor Andrew Bailey will also speak throughout the week. 

ECB keeps policy unchanged

As expected, the European Central Bank stood firm on its monetary policy stance last week, keeping interest rates at record lows and its quantitative easing steady. ECB Chief Christine Lagarde stated that it was too soon to begin considering easing as the bloc records some momentum in its attempts to recover from the pandemic. Following more vaccinations and increased consumer confidence, the common currency has strengthened by around 1.3% versus the US Dollar since April. However, the ECB figurehead suggested that while inflation was forecast to increase in the short term, the effects would be temporary. In the week ahead, inflation data will be released for the Eurozone, Germany, and France. The ECOFIN meetings are scheduled for Friday. 

Fed monetary policy decision ahead 

The US Dollar Index recorded a weekly gain of 0.42%, its best performance since April. The Dollar has benefitted from periods of risk-off sentiment in the past year as the coronavirus spread throughout the world. However, shifts to risk-on sentiment could cause the Dollar to soften as vaccine rollouts continue and economies begin to reopen. The main event in the US this week will be the Federal Reserve monetary policy decisions. Markets are keen to determine when the central bank may begin to taper its accommodative monetary policy measures, so any comments will be closely scrutinised. Data out this week will include retail stats and inflation. 

Labour market data in focus 

Last week, the Pound to Australian Dollar exchange rate traded between levels of 1.8195 and 1.8350, closing just slightly below where it began the week. Meanwhile, versus the New Zealand Dollar, the Pound managed to touch its highest level since September 2020 as risk sentiment for commodity currencies ebbed. 

The Reserve Bank of Australia will release its latest meeting minutes on Tuesday, followed by a speech by RBA Governor Philip Lowe later in the week. Additionally, highly influential labour market data will be released, which could impact the way the AUD exchange rate trades. In New Zealand, Growth Rate stats will be out, detailing economic activity in Q1. Additionally, data for New Zealand's most lucrative commodity, dairy, will be released. 

Inflation data ahead 

The Sterling to Canadian Dollar exchange rate was also rangebound last week, in a range of around 0.7%. The GBP/CAD currency pair closed 0.3% higher than where it began the week. The most influential data out for CAD in the week ahead will be the Canadian Inflation Rate stats. Additionally, housing market figures and some labour market stats will be released.