In worrying times like this, it is important for us to point out that we completely acknowledge the wider implications of international conflict. Our principle duty as a company is to ensure that our clients are aware of all of the factors that affect currency exchange rates, which sadly sometimes includes war. Our thoughts are with everyone who is being affected by this escalating situation, and our currency updates do not intend to diminish, ignore or undermine the true impacts of this conflict.

The pound was lower against the US dollar amid a cautious market mood. The latest peace talks between Russia and Ukraine have failed, and the two sides have not yet reached a ceasefire agreement. The war and US inflation fears will boost the US dollar's haven demand. The pound is stronger against the euro, but if sentiment declines further then both currencies will lose value against the dollar. However, analysts believe the pound could rise against the euro. With uncertainty and the possibility of a breakthrough in the negotiations looking highly unlikely, the foreign exchange market will remain volatile.

Russia – Ukraine talks

No progress has been made after a meeting on Thursday between Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Turkey's Antalya. Ukraine’s foreign minister said he discussed a 24-hour ceasefire with his Russian counterpart who defended the invasion and said it was going as planned. The meeting is the first high-level contact between the two sides since Moscow invaded Ukraine at the end of February. While officials from Kyiv and Moscow have met previously, this is the first time Russia sent a minister for discussions.

Lavrov said Russia wants to continue the negotiations with Ukraine and underlined that Russia would not have started the war if the West approved “our proposal on security guarantees.” He added: “Until the end, we wanted to resolve the situation in Ukraine through diplomatic means.”

Market optimism could be hurt from the risk of a further escalation in tensions between Russia and the West, while investors are concerned about inflationary pressures’ impact on the global economic outlook. This will limit any potential gains for the pound against the US dollar, and with little economic releases from the UK, the British currency will be driven by US dollar dynamics. 

Euro

The euro held most of its gains from yesterday as investors await the latest ECB policy decision for  fresh stimulus. The war in Ukraine might not push the ECB to change its hawkish stance especially when inflation is so high. The risk of a further escalation of tensions between Russia and the West could push the euro lower.

Bank of England

Uncertainty from the invasion of Ukraine will limit the number of rate hikes by the Bank of England (BoE) despite concerns for embedded inflation. Economists at Westpac note that the GBP/USD pair is at risk of suffering a sharp decline. Concerns about the cost of living will limit any upside potential for the pound and further rate rises. They said: “BoE had cited the cost-of-living pressures as a reason for a more gradual tightening path, but they will also be unable to ignore surging inflation. The net outcome is likely to be a lower and slower path of withdrawing accommodation.”

Global Inflation concerns

Markets remain concerned with rising inflation and commodity prices which could lead to a global recession. A global growth slowdown will support the safe-haven US dollar.

The euro however found support from the prospect of EU member states issuing a joint bond to finance increased defence spending and ease the impact of the energy crisis. The European Council will meet today in Versailles, France and more details might become clear. Analysts noted that such plans could end up being steeped in bureaucracy.

If the war in Ukraine continues, the euro will be lower against commodity and safe-haven currencies. Volatility will continue in the currency markets, while the exclusion of Russian commodity exports from global markets will increase inflation and require the establishment of new supply chains and routes.