This is the current USD-GBP mid-market exchange rate. The Total Cost of buying foreign currency in the above table is calculated as the sum of all fees and the exchange rate margin, which is the difference between the provider's exchange rate and the mid-market USD-GBP exchange rate.
Whenever you are researching a particular exchange rate you are actually interested in two currencies as the value of a currency must always be quoted relative to a second currency.
So it follows that if you are determining the best time to transact, in this case the USD vs GBP, you should pay attention to both United States Dollar and British Pound Sterling news and forecasts.
26-January-19: 2018 was a reasonable year for the dollar. Measured by the US Dollar Index, the greenback appreciated by 4 percent, which was much better than 2017’s 10 percent loss. It was, though, something of a stuttering end to 2018 and the dollar has had mixed fortunes in early 2019.
In December, after lifting US interest rates to 2.25-2.5 percent, the Fed lowered its expectations for future hikes due to so-called “cross currents” (China, Brexit, trade wars etc.). Skepticism among analysts over future Fed hikes has for some time been the main reason for dollar pessimism for 2019, but now, there is also the prospect of a US economic slowdown to contend with.
“A slowdown in the economy is likely to weigh on USD particularly in the second half of this year,” a CIBC researcher said in January.
Of the same opinion was an expert at ING, who argued that the dollar is soon to “embark on a gradual long-term bearish trend.”
January’s extended US government shutdown also has dollar-negative ramifications. Not only is the shutdown likely to hit first-quarter GDP growth, disagreements within Congress bode poorly for the future of potentially inflationary fiscal spending.
16-January-19: Given Brexit uncertainties, 2018 wasn’t too bad for the pound. Although it lost 7.5 percent of its value against the dollar last year (it’s down 12 percent on pre-EU referendum levels), it only lost 1.9 percent against the euro and gained nearly 3 percent against the Australian dollar.
The pound was relatively robust throughout early to mid-January despite UK politics being in a state of disarray, and with all Brexit options still on the table.
Against the euro, sterling traded on the day of this report at a 7-week high of €1.13, and against the dollar, it bought $1.288—close to a 9-week high.
Sterling’s 2019 strength (albeit strength from low levels) following the massive parliamentary rejection of Theresa May’s Brexit deal was, analysts said, the result of an expectation among investors for Article 50 extensions, Brexit delays, a second referendum or soft-Brexit outcomes, rather than for “no deal.”
Impact of no-deal: The Bank of England has predicted a shocking 25 percent loss in the pound’s value in the event of a “disorderly” no-deal Brexit, under which there will be serious border delays and a marked loss of confidence in Britain’s financial institutions. In the more likely event of a milder, “disruptive” no-deal Brexit, under which goods face tariffs but flow somewhat easily, sterling still loses 15 percent, the BoE believes.
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