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GBP/USD Outlook April 16-20

GBP/USD  was down  slightly  over the week. The pound flexed some muscle, as the pair pushed close to the 1.60 level, before closing the week at 1.5842. The upcoming week has  six releases. Here is an outlook for the upcoming events, and an updated technical analysis for GBP/USD.

The markets  appeared caught off guard by the  most recent US employment figures, which showed a rise in US unemployment claims and  weak  non-farm payrolls.   GBP/USD showed little reaction to the news, as the pair  moved  very slightly  dowwards  last week. Will the pair break out of range this week?

Updates: GBP/USD fell sharply in the Asian session, and the pair continues to slide, trading at 1.5835. The markets are awaiting the release of the CPI later in the week. The markets did an excellent job in their forecasts of UK inflation releases. CPI figures came in at 3.5%, exactly as predicted by the markets. Core CPI posted a reading of 2.5%, just above the market forecast of 2.4%. RPI also came in exactly as predicted, at 3.6%, as did the HPI, at 0.3%. GBP/USD has bounced up, as the pair is trading at 1.5963. The Claimant Count Change dropped sharply, as the unemployment indicator posted a reading of 3.6K, a three-month low. The markets  had predicted a reading of 6.6K.   In the MPC Meeting Minutes released by the central bank, there were no surprises, as the interest rate votes matched the market expectations.   GBP/USD climbed above the 1.60 level, for the first time since April 3. The pair  is pushing upwards, trading at 1.6039.  The markets are waiting for the key Retail Sales release, which will be published on Friday.

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

  1. Rightmove HPI: Sunday, 23:01. Traders should note that the house inflation index was leaked to the media  three full days prior to  its scheduled  release,  with a reading of 2.9%.  This would represent a big jump by the index, as the March figure was 1.6%.
  2. Nationwide Consumer Confidence: Publication time tentative. Last month,  the consumer composite index posted a reading of 44,  well below the market forecast of 49.  The prediction for April calls for a slight drop, to a level of 42.
  3. CPI: Tuesday, 8:30. This important inflation index has been steady over the past two months, with a reading of 3.4% in March. The markets are predicting more of the same in April, with a forecast of 3.5%.
  4. Claimant Count Change: Wednesday, 8:30. This could be the highlight of the week. Unemployment claims hit 7.2K in March, above the market forecast of 6.5K. The market  is sticking to  its forecast, predicting a reading of 6.6K in April. The unemployment rate, stuck at 8.4% since January, is expected to remain the same.
  5. MPC Meeting Minutes: Wednesday, 8:30. Analysts will be looking to glean some information about monetary policy from the minutes of the Monetary Policy Committee of  the Central  Bank. A report that is more hawkish than expected could be bullish for the pound.
  6. Retail Sales: Friday, 8:30. Retail sales plummeted in March, falling by 0.8%. This was the most severe drop since June 2011. The markets are forecasting a much healthier April, calling for an increase of 0.4%.

*All times are GMT

GBP/USD Technical Analysis

GBP/USD opened the week at 1.5875. After dropping slightly to a low of 1.5852, The pair climbed close to the important 1.60 level (discussed last week), hitting a high of 1.5984. The pair then gave  back these gains and then some, closing slightly down on the week,  at 1.5842.

Technical levels from top to bottom

We  start with the  line of 1.6356, which has provided GBP/USD with strong resistance since August 2011.This is followed by the resistance line of 1.6265, which was last tested in July and August 2011.

Below, 1.6132 has provided resistance since November 2011, and has strengthened as the pair has traded at lower levels. The next line of resistance is at 1.6065, which was last tested in November of last year. This is followed by the psychologically important line of 1.60, which held steady during the upswing by the pair. This line could be tested if the pound once again shows some strength against the dollar.

This is followed by 1.5923, a fluid line which was breached again this week. It continues to provide the pair with weak resistance. Close by is the  line of 1.5892, which also is providing weak resistance. It continues to be tested by the pair, and could fall on a sustained upswing by the pound.

Next, 1.5805 is providing GBP/USD with weak support. The pair has come close to this line several times in April. Close below, 1.5750 is the next support level. It has provided the pair with support since mid-March. This is followed by 1.5639, which has been in a support  role. This level has strengthened as the pair trades at higher levels.

Below, is 1.5520, which has provided strong support since January. We conclude for now with the round number of 1.54, which has acted in a support role going back to September 2011.

I remain  bullish on GBP/USD.

Although  GBP/USD  has been choppy of late, traders should  keep in mind that the pound has performed extremely well against  the dollar in 2012,  as the pair was  as low as  1.53 in  January. The pound’s rise is all the more remarkable, given the  much stronger US economy, compared to  its UK counterpart.  With the enticing 1.60 level within grasp, GBP/USD could push upwards.

Further reading:

Kenny Fisher

Kenny Fisher

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.