Risk Aversion Cause Euro and British Pound to Tank

Includes: EGB, ERE, FXB, FXE, GBB
by: Kathy Lien

The Euro and British pound sold off aggressively Thursday on the heels of comments from government officials and market players.

Risk aversion has been a theme in the markets following the weaker than expected jobless claims and durable goods report from the US (read my full insight on these numbers at FX360.com)

The EUR/USD broke the 1.30 level after legendary investor George Soros said that the currency may not survive the crisis without a global plan. He is pushing for the European Union to come up with a way to deal with all of the toxic debt sitting on the balance sheets of European banks. To ask for each country to come up with its own solution is not the right solution, a regional response is needed. Earlier Thursday morning, ECB President Trichet also said that he is not excluding cutting rates below 2 percent.

As for the British pound or GBP/USD, it has come under selling pressure on comments from UK Chancellor Darling, Bank of England Governor King and BoE member Blanchflower. This morning, in an exchange of letters Darling and King announced that the central bank is authorized to purchase up to GBP 50 billion in investment grade assets ranging from corporate bonds, commercial paper and syndicated loans. Details will be released next week. The Chancellor also talked about Quantitative Easing and how the BoE needs his written approval to use the money for Quantitative Easing which entails purchasing UK gilts. Although more stimulus should be ultimately good for the country, many investors fear that the UK could become the next Iceland.