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GBP/USD Outlook – February 15-19

The upcoming week is very busy for cable traders. Inflation, employment and retail sales are among the many events. Here’s an outlook for this week’s data and an updated technical analysis for GBP/USD.

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

One of the things that hurt the Pound this week was the NIESR GDP estimate aligned with the official GDP release for Q4 and pointed to very weak growth. The Pound survived it. Let’s see the events that await us:

  1. Rightmove HPI: Published on Monday at midnight GMT. The first event of the week is an early indicator of house prices. According to Rightmove, house prices have risen by 0.4% last month after two months of drops. A similar rise is predicted this time.
  2. CPI: Published on Tuesday at 9:30 GMT. British inflation is on the rise. BOE governor Mervyn King refuses to admit this and insists that the rise is temporary – meaning no rate hike is in the horizon. Last month’s 2.9% rise was still OK – in the government’s target. This time, an annualized rise of 3.6% is predicted. What will King say about this? Also Core CPI is predicted to rise – from 2.8% to 3.2% and RPI (Retail Price Index) is predicted to rise by 3.8%. Note that the RPI has been negative for many months.
  3. BOE Inflation Letter: Publication tentative. If CPI expectations are met, and inflation rises beyond 3%, Mervyn King is obliged to issue a public letter to the government, explaining the reasons for this and the measures that will be taken to address it. It will be interesting to hear his official response to such numbers.
  4. Employment data: Published on Wednesday at 9:30 GMT. The number of unemployed Brits is expected to fall for a third month in a row. The Claimant Count Change is predicted to drop by 14.6K, following a 15.2K drop last month. This early indicator (for January) moves the Pound. British unemployment rate is predicted to remain stable at 7.8% in December 2009. Economists were wrong on this in previous months. This highly cited figure exceeded expectations.
  5. MPC Meeting Minutes: Published on Wednesday at 9:30 GMT, together with the employment data. The last rate decision ended without a rate hike and without renewing the funds for the QE program. King already said that this program might be expanded again, thus hurting the Pound. We’ll get to see what the different members thought about it. In the past, their votes split 3 ways at times. Together with the employment figures, this is a very shaky time for GBP/USD.
  6. Public Sector Net Borrowing: Published on Thursday at 9:30 GMT. British public expenditure is eyed by the opposition and by investors alike. After many months of extended borrowing, the British government is expected to report negative borrowing – something that will help the Pound.
  7. CBI Industrial Order Expectations: Published on Thursday at 11:30 GMT. This indicator has been negative for a long time, meaning that a lower volume of orders is expected. Also this time, the 550 manufacturers that are surveyed are predicted to show lower expectations. The result of the survey is expected to be -35, slightly better than -39 last month.
  8. Paul Fisher talks: Will begin speaking on Thursday at 19:00 GMT. BOE Executive Director Paul Fisher is an influential voting member and he might move the Pound if he makes interesting statements in his speech in London. He might relate to the weak GDP.
  9. Retail Sales: Published on Friday at 11:30 GMT. The eventful week finishes with a strong number as well. This important consumer gauge is predicted to drop by 0.5% after rising by a disappointing 0.3% last month. This will fuel Friday’s volatility.

GBP/USD Technical Analysis

The Pound got used to a new range this week: 1.5530 to 1.5770. At the end, GBP/USD closed very close to last week’s close.

I’ve pushed up the 1.5720 line that appeared in last week’s forecast to 1.5770, according to the current trading range. Above, 1.5833 was December’s low and supplies a minor line of resistance.

Higher, 1.6110 is another resistance line, backed by 1.6260, a line that served as both a support and resistance line recently.

Looking down, 1.5530 is the initial line of support, serving as such this week. Below, 1.5350 is a strong line of support, serving in the past as a resistance line before the Pound went up.

Even lower, the magical round number of 1.50 awaits, but it’s far below.

I’m bearish on the Pound

Weak economic growth is a burden on the British economy, despite rising employment and inflation. In addition, GBP/USD didn’t recover from losing an important support line.

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Yohay Elam

Yohay Elam

Yohay Elam: Founder, Writer and Editor I have been into forex trading for over 5 years, and I share the experience that I have and the knowledge that I've accumulated. After taking a short course about forex. Like many forex traders, I've earned a significant share of my knowledge the hard way. Macroeconomics, the impact of news on the ever-moving currency markets and trading psychology have always fascinated me. Before founding Forex Crunch, I've worked as a programmer in various hi-tech companies. I have a B. Sc. in Computer Science from Ben Gurion University. Given this background, forex software has a relatively bigger share in the posts.