US Dollar Exchange Rate

The exchange rate is now 0.12% higher at 1.5857.

RBS have advised that they forecast a stronger US dollar going forward on the back of momentum in the US economy.

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Also boosting the cause of the US dollar are expectations for a third round of quantitative easing at the US Fed being pushed back.

"This should lead to a more constructive view on the USD, where positive US data surprises eventually start to benefit the currency," says an exchange rate note from RBS.

Analysts urge investors to watch this week’s US data.

"A shift in US policy expectations may also see a loosening in the positive correlation of GBP/USD with risk. A breach of the 200d ma at 1.5892 remains key for GBP/USD. This week’s BoE meeting is unlikely to see any shift in policy so near term risks look skewed to EUR/GBP downside given ECB balance sheet expansion should play negative for EUR," says the exchange rate note.

US data continues to point to relatively solid economic growth which is at odds with the situation in Europe, where signs of stabilisation are far more mixed.

This continued improvement may, at some point, begin to shift back expectations of further policy easing from the Fed.

US 5-year swap rates were already edging higher before the market seemingly interpreted Bernanke testimony as reducing the chances of QE3 over the near term.

On balance, RBS Economics believe that Bernanke is strongly inclined to act and QE3 remains likely around mid-year as the momentum in the US economy starts to fade.

But, if the data does continue to show improvement and oil prices stabilise then expectations for further Fed policy easing are likely to be pushed back to later in 2012.

This should play USD positive, until headwinds from expected US fiscal tightening emerge in H2:12

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