"No helping hand" for the Pound: Budget 2023

15 Mar 2023

UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's Spring Budget will provide "no helping hand for Sterling," said Barclays strategists.

Wednesday's Budget marks the second key domestic event for the Pound this week, which has rallied against the Euro and Dollar since Monday, fuelled by stronger-than-forecast jobs data on Tuesday. 

Jeremy Hunt is forecast to unveil an improved fiscal outlook, with estimates indicating an additional £30 billion will be available to bolster Britain's economy and boost consumer and business sentiment. 

The 2023 Budget follows last September's so-called 'mini-budget' by former PM Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng, which sent the Sterling plummeting, Pound Sterling Live reports. 

Whereas Hunt's subsequent November 17 Budget managed to recover Britain's fiscal credibility, and the Pound to Dollar rate has rallied 17% since last September's low. Whereas the Pound to Euro rate has gained 4.5% from its lowest point. 

According to the BBC's chief political correspondent, Nick Eardley: "Things have changed a lot since the mini-Budget under Kwasi Kwarteng. The Treasury is hopeful that the economy is in a better place – and that inflation is coming down quickly.

"Against that backdrop, the pitch from the chancellor today will be twofold: helping with immediate cost-of-living pressures and developing a plan for economic growth," he added.

According to Morgan Stanley analysts, any impact on the Pound will depend on the combination of initiatives unveiled by the Chancellor.

"We don't think that the Spring Budget statement will be a game-changer for GBP, but an announcement of more supply-side initiatives could bring some further near-term support to the currency," said Wanting low, a Morgan Stanley currency strategist.

Furthermore, Barclays predicts the government will unveil £13 billion fiscal expansion and bank the rest, the Pound Sterling Live report adds. "In theory, fiscal expansions should be beneficial for a currency, in so far as they lift the domestic interest rate and encourage capital inflows," according to Lefteris Farmakis, an analyst with Barclays. 

Yet he added that for the Sterling to benefit, the Bank of England would have to react to the fiscal boost by hiking rates, encouraging enhanced bond yields that typically highlight the demand for the Sterling.