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Looking for the latest outlook, for the current week? Check out the section: GBP USD Forecast

The Pound enjoyed the thin trading volume to rise. Now we’re back to normal. This week is packed with major British releases, with the rate decision being the most important one. Here’s an outlook for the events that will impact the British Pound, and an updated technical analysis for GBP/USD as 2010 begins.

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

GBP USD 2010 Forecast

At the wake of 2010, Britain is still in recession. The figures are updated only for Q3, but Britain is still far behind other economies. At least the unemployment situation is improving. Let’s start the review. The technical analysis will follow:

  1. Halifax HPI: Publishing time is unknown at the moment. The Halifax Bank of Scotland calculates the prices of homes by its internal mortgage figures, making it these numbers very meaningful. According to Halifax, prices of homes have risen in the past 5 months, usually at a rate higher than 1%. Last month’s rise of 1.4% is expected to be followed by a modest 0.6% rise.
  2. Manufacturing PMI: Published on Monday at 9:30 GMT. Britain’s manufacturing sector is expanding, but this is quite fragile according to purchasing managers. Manufacturing PMI is flirting with the 50 point mark that separates contraction and expansion. Last month’s number disappointed with a fall to 51.8 points. It’s predicted to edge up to 52.1 points this time.
  3. Net Lending to Individuals: Published on Monday at 9:30 and slightly overshadowed by the PMI release. Also here, the situation is fragile. Credit is expanding in the past 3 months, but the pace of lending growth, which is necessary for the economy’s growth, is stuck. After dropping to 0.3 billion pounds last time, it’s predicted to double to 0.6 billion.
  4. Mortgage Approvals: Published on Monday at 9:30 GMT, and will only move the Pound if it’s a big surprise. Other events overshadow it. Although the BBA already published its mortgage numbers, this official release also moves the Pound. 57K mortgages were approved last month, and the number is predicted to tick up to 58K this time.
  5. Construction PMI: Published on Tuesday at 9:30 GMT. The construction sector is important in Britain, where real estate has been an important part of the growth, and also the recession. Purchasing managers are rather pessimistic. This indicator has shown contraction (below 50) since March 2008. This isn’t expected to change now – Last month’s 47 points are expected to be followed by 47.6 this time – an improvement, but still under 50.
  6. Nationwide Consumer Confidence: Published on Wednesday at midnight GMT. This survey of 1000 consumers impacts the members of the Bank of England before they make their rate decision. After slow and cautious gains, this indicator is predicted to edge down from 73 to 72 points.
  7. Services PMI: Published on Wednesday at 9:30 GMT.  The British Services sector is doing better than the manufacturing sector. PMI for this sector has been above 50 for 7 straight months, and this trend is predicted to continue, but to calm down. After dropping from 56.9 to 56.6, it’s predicted to rise back to the same score again – 56.9.
  8. Rate decision: Published on Thursday at 12:00 GMT. British policymakers aren’t expected to move the interest rate. The Official Bank Rate is predicted to stay at 0.5%, the historic low. Also the Asset Purchase Facility, also known as the Quantitative Easing program, isn’t expected to be extended beyond 200 billion pounds. It could have been larger. So, the first rate decision of 2010 will probably be around the MPC Rate Statement. Mervyn King and his colleagues will lay out expectations for 2010, a year in which Brits elect a new government.
  9. PPI: Published on Friday at 9:30 GMT. PPI Input leaped two months ago by 2.9%, but this was a one-time event. Prices rose by 0.1% last time, and are back to normal. And now, a drop of 0.2% is predicted. PPI Output, which is less important, is expected to rise by 0.2%. This number hasn’t leaped earlier.

GBP/USD Technical Analysis

GBP/USD traded in a wide range in the past holiday week, from the lows of 1.5830 to the highs of 1.6230. It closed a positive week at 1.6160.

Immediate support for the Pound is at 1.6110. This is a line that it struggled to break after starting the comeback, but its importance is now smaller, after being broken too many times.

Further below, 1.5720 is a huge support line. This is the bottom border of a wide range that the Pound has been trading in in the past 6 months. It was already successfully tested.

Looking up, 1.6260 served as support line, and is now a resistance line for the Pound. Further above, 1.65 is a round number and another minor resistance line.

Looking higher, I’ve added a resistance line that didn’t appear in last week’s outlook. 1.6746 worked as a resistance line 3 times in past months, although the pair traded above this line twice in this period.

My sentiment is still bearish on the Pound.

There are too many weights on the British recovery, such as the huge deficit. Add the dollar’s strength to that, and you see it going down. I see last week’s rise as insignificant, as it came during thin-volume trading.

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