Following on from the EUR 750 billion EU / IMF package European governments are starting to hold up to their end of the bargain. Spain announced a bunch of austerity measures. The measures aim at cutting the country’s budget deficit by an additional EUR 15 billion from 11.2% of GDP in 2009 to close to 6% in 2011. This was accompanied by some better economic news as Spain edged out of a close to 2-year recession in Q1 2010.
Evidence that some action is being taken on the fiscal front in Europe accompanied a slightly stronger than expected reading for Eurozone GDP in Q1 2010, helping risk appetite to improve overnight. Portugal was also able to find some success in its sale of EUR 1 billion of 10-year bonds, with a bid to cover ratio of 1.8 and a premium of only 18bps above the yield at April’s sale. Portugal has also pledged to cuts its budget deficit further than initially planned, aiming for a deficit of 7.3% of GDP this year.
Of course, pledges need to be followed by action and implementation and execution will be essential to bring markets back on side given the likely damage inflicted on confidence in the whole EUR project. Continued skepticism explains why EUR/USD has failed to take much notice to the developments in Spain and Portugal, with the currency continuing to languish, heading towards technical support around 1.2510 in the short-term.
The new UK coalition government is also moving quickly to appease markets, with plans to cut the budget deficit in the country by GBP 6 billion this year. The plans failed to have a lasting impact on GBP, which was dealt a blow by the dovish interpretation of the Bank of England’s quarterly inflation report released yesterday. GBP/USD continues to struggle to gain a foothold above 1.5000 and technical indicators suggest the currency pair is still heading lower, with a move to 1.4500 likely over the short-term.