What a month March was…it will surely be looked back on in history school classes in the future. As the world tries to fight the impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) from a health perspective, many countries are in lockdown and economies are on hold. Major governments have provided unprecedented financial support packages for business, employees and the self-employed.
All of this has led to a roller-coaster ride for global equity markets and while they have all fallen significantly during March, many have risen markedly from their lowest closing day during the month.
In terms of currency, £ Sterling ended March at 1.24 US Dollars. This was 3.1% lower than the figure at the end of February.Monthly performance to end of March 2020 Lowest close during March 2020 March 2020 month end compared to lowest close
Similarly, against the Euro, £ Sterling ended March at 1.13 Euros, which was 3.2% lower than the February closing figure.
Inflation, as measured by the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH), was 1.7% in February 2020 (this is February’s data which is reported in March). This was 0.1% lower than the previous month. The 12-month rate for the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rate which excludes owner occupied housing costs and council tax was also 1.7% in February, also down from 1.8% in January.
In moves reported to help to bolster cash flow for households and small businesses affected by the coronavirus, the Bank of England has cut interest rates twice during March. The first cut to 0.25% was on 13 March followed by a further cut to 0.1% on 19 March. The previous change was an increase to 0.75% in August 2018.