GBP/USD Outlook March 19-23



GBP/USD was up almost 200 pips, closing the week at 1.5835. The upcoming week is quite busy, with eight releases. Here is an outlook for the upcoming events, and an updated technical analysis for GBP/USD.

Despite the mixed economic news coming out of the UK, the pound had a late surge last week, as it continues to perform well against the dollar in 2012.

Updates:Rightmove HPI rose 1.6%, a sharp decrease compared to February. CPI was up 3.4%, exactly as the markets predicted. CBI Industrial Order Expectations fell to -8, dropping from last month. Public Sector Borrowing rose, recording a deficit of 12.9B. This was the worst reading since December 2011. GBP/USD is trading just above the 1.58 level, at 1.5804. The markets are waiting for the release of Nationwide Consumer Confidence.

GBP/USD graph with support and resistance lines on it. Click to enlarge: 

  1. Rightmove HPI: Monday, 12:01. This indicator measures inflation in the UK housing sector. The index jumped 4.1% in February, its highest level since October 2011. If other housing indicators follow suit and signal renewed activity in the housing industry, this would be bullish for the pound. 
  2. CPI: Tuesday, 9:30. The most important inflation index has been on a steady downward trend since October. The February reading came in at 3.6%. The market forecast for March is for another small decrease, to 3.4%.  
  3. CBI Industrial Order Expectations: Tuesday, 11:00. This diffusion index is based on a survey of manufacturers.  The index was up to -3 in February, its highest level since August 2011. The market forecast calls for a slight drop to -5. If the indicator can stay close to the zero level or push into positive territory, this would be bullish for the pound.
  4. Public Sector Net Borrowing: Wednesday, 9:30. The budget had a surplus in February of 10.7B, well above the market forecast of 8.9B. The markets are forecasting a deficit of 5.2B in March. If the indicator can beat this gloomy forecast, the pound could benefit.
  5. Annual Budget Release: Wednesday, 12:30. The reaction of the market to the annual budget can change the direction of the pound, so traders should take note of this event.
  6. Retail Sales: Thursday, 9:30. Retail sales sparkled last month. This indicator jumped 0.9%, a nine-month high, and surprised the markets, which had forecast a 0.3% drop. The markets are predicting a 0.5% drop in March. Will the indicator again surprise the markets this month with a strong reading?
  7. Nationwide Consumer Confidence: Friday, 12:01. This indicator measures consumer confidence in the UK. A confident consumer is a spending consumer, which is critical for economic growth. The index hit 47 in February, a sixth-month high. The forecast for March is for another increase, and if the indicator can cross the 50 threshold, this would be bullish for the pound.
  8. BBA Mortgage Approvals: Friday, 9:30. Mortgage approvals is an important indicator of activity in the housing sector. The February reading hit 38.1K, its best number in over two years. The forecast for March call for further good news, with a slight increase to 39.1.
* All times are GMT.
  

GBP/USD Technical Analysis

GBP/USD started the week at 1.5650. The pair dropped to a low of 1.5620, dipping below the resistance line of 1.5629 (discussed last week). The pound ended the week with a bang, as it shot up as high as 1.5860, and closed the week at 1.5834. 

Technical levels from top to bottom

We begin with the strong resistance level of 1.6356. This is followed by 1.6265. Next, 1.6132 has provided strong resistance since November 2011. Below, there is resistance at 1.6065. Next, there is strong resistance at 1.5987, just shy of the psychologically important line of 1.60. This is followed by the round number of 1.59, which is currently a weak resistance line. It could be tested if the pound continues its strong push upwards. Below, 1.5750, which just last week was in a resistance role, now finds itself providing support to GBP/USD. Next, 1.5639, which was briefly breached this week, is providing support. This is followed by 1.5520, a strong support level since January. Below is the round number of 1.54, an important support level for the pair going back to September 2011. The final support line for now is at 1.5336.

I remain neutral on GBP/USD.

GBP/USD, has been choppy recently, with the exception of a sudden surge by the pound at the end of last week. With the mixed economic figures coming out of the UK, we may continue to see the pair make moves in both directions.

Further reading:




About

Kenny Fisher - Senior Writer

A native of Toronto, Canada, Kenneth worked for seven years in the marketing and trading departments at Bendix, a foreign exchange company in Toronto. Kenneth is also a lawyer, and has extensive experience as an editor and writer.

1 Comment

  1. oracle says:

    The budget is key for the pound. I believe that a long-term upward move started in early January and is to resume. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t and won’t be corrections. After those corrections the pound should be BOUGHT especially against currencies that have little or no room to move further up (USD, CAD, AUD, NZD, CHF).

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