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US data releases lead to GBP/USD trading at a high

It was a fairly muted week in FX markets last week. The Bank of England Governor Mark Carney and other MPC members testified before the Treasury Select Committee on Tuesday.  They didn’t say anything too surprising – Carney stated that the next policy move would be to raise interest rates, although didn’t say when.

He also referred to there being uncertainty about the extent of slack in the economy and that the UK economy still faced threats from the Eurozone.   Referring to inflation, MPC member Kristin Forbes said that “currently measures of domestically generated inflation are also low, and that should continue to keep inflation contained for now”.   If anything, the tone of the hearings was dovish but it didn’t have too much of a negative impact on the pound.

Later on in the day on Tuesday, US Prelim GDP q/q printed quite a lot stronger than expectations, showing that the US economy expanded by 3.9% in the third quarter.   GBP/USD dipped to a low of 1.5656 on the news, but again the reaction was fairly muted.   In contrast, US consumer confidence data and Richmond manufacturing numbers were weak and quite a lot worse than forecasts.

By Alex Edwards at UKForex, an international money transfer service

The dollar immediately weakened on the news and GBP/USD rallied to 1.5728.   Then on Wednesday, a plethora of US data was released – US Core Durable Goods Orders, Unemployment Claims and New Home Sales all came in weaker than expected and following this GBP/USD went on to trade to a week high of 1.5824.

In other news yesterday, OPEC announced that it would be leaving production quotas unchanged and the price of oil fell again, down to $68 a barrel.   The oil-production linked currencies, such as the CAD, felt the impact.

The euro got off to a positive start last week.   It got a boost early on Monday morning following the release of stronger than expected German Ifo Business Climate – the index came in at 104.7 vs. forecasts for 103.0, the first rise in seven months and coming hot off the heels of expectations beating German ZEW data a week prior.   Later on in the week, German CPI (inflation) data printed in line with market expectations yesterday, although it was still flat at 0.0% m/m.   German Unemployment Change was slightly more positive, showing that the country’s jobless rate fell to a record low in November by 14,000.   After trading to a week high of 1.2528, EUR/USD slipped back to finish the week at 1.2445.

This week is a very busy week in FX.   UK PMIs are due on Monday, Tuesday andWednesday, the combination of which has printed slightly weaker than market forecasts recently.   If this is the case again this week, we could see GBP/USD test a break below 1.56.   There is also plenty of top tier economic indicators due from America.   ISM Manufacturing PMI is due on Monday, Fed Chair Yellen speaks on Tuesday, ISM Non-Manufacturing PMI is out on Wednesday and last but not least, Non-Farm Payrolls are due on Friday.   Markets are expecting 230,000 new US jobs to have been created in November.   In Europe, the ECB are meeting on Thursday to decide on monetary policy.   The question is will they announce any measures that resemble full blown QE or will Draghi continue to stress that the central bank stands ready to act?   Probably the latter.

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