The British Pound made attempts to rise in the past week, but ended finished lower. The upcoming trading week features important inflation and employment data and other figures as well. Here’s an outlook for this week’s events and an updated technical analysis for GBP/USD.
For the latest outlook, check out the section: GBP/USD Forecast.
GBP/USD forex chart with support and resistance lines marked on it. Click to enlarge.
The highlight of last week was the rate decision on Thursday. Despite no big surprises, the BoE made some Pound-bearish hints that pushed it lower. Some countries enjoyed surprising employment figures. Will Britain join them this week? Let’s see what’s awaiting the Pound:
- BRC Retail Sales Monitor: The British Retail Consortium releases this “mini-retail sales” release on Monday, 23:00 GMT (midnight UK). On one hand, this isn’t a full nor official retail sales release, but it’s earlier than the government’s release. This indicator slipped by 0.1% last month after rising for two consecutive months. The impact may be overshadowed by the RICS House Price Balance, due at the same time.
- RICS House Price Balance: The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has access to the real housing data. The housing sector has been very problematic in Britain, and its recovery is very important. After many months of downfall, this indicator was finally positive last month, showing 10.7% of surveyors expect a rise in prices. This percentage is expected to rise to 15.1% this time. Published on Tuesday at 23:00 GMT.
- CPI: Britain hasn’t suffered from a fall in prices like continental Europe, but its heading there. Since February, prices have not accelerated. After last month’s 1.6% rise (annually adjusted), CPI is expected to rise by 1.3% this time. Also the Core CPI is expected to slow from 1.8% to 1.7%. Published on Tuesday at 8:30 GMT.
- RPI: At the same time as CPI, the Retail Price Index is a more precise measure of consumer prices, and here, the fall in prices is evident. RPI hasn’t risen since February, and is showing a decline in prices. Last month’s 1.3% drop is expected to be followed by a 1.5% drop this time.
- BOE Inflation Letter: This letter is issued by the Bank of England if the CPI misses the 1-3% inflation range. If CPI expectations are met at 1.3%, this letter isn’t issued. If it goes below 1%, then Mervyn King will need to explain the reason for this, and more interesting: what he’s going to do about it. Handing such a letter will be Pound bearish. If this event takes place, it will be on Tuesday, following the CPI release.
- Charles Bean talks: BOE Deputy Governor Charles Bean is an influential member of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC). In his last public appearance he put some of the blame for the crisis on policymakers. Will he say something to move the Pound? He’ll talk on Tuesday at 13:00 GMT.
- Claimant Count Change: The most important release of the week is on Wednesday at 8:30 GMT. This is the earliest employment figure in Britain. The number of people claiming unemployment benefits has been on the rise since April 2008. In the last three months, the rise has stabilized at about 24K. This time, it’s expected to rise to 25K, not so hopeful.
- Unemployment Rate: Britain’s unemployment rate has been on the rise since last summer. The current 7.9% is expected to edge up to 8%. Contrary to the Claimant Count Change, this figure relates to the previous month. Despite being a late figure, the unemployment rate is a highly quoted figure, and impacts policymakers. Published on Wednesday at 8:30 GMT.
- Average Earnings Index: The accompanying figure to the unemployment rate is expected to rise by 1.4%, slower than last month’s 1.7% rise. This is a three-month moving average that compares to the same period a year earlier. Only a big surprise will shake the Pound here, since the time of publication is also Wednesday at 8:30 GMT, together with the important aforementioned releases.
GBP/USD Technical Analysis
GBP/USD made two failed attempts to rise: On Tuesday it peaked at 1.6050 before falling to 1.5850. The second attempt, on Thursday evening, took it up 1.6110, but everything was washed away quickly, and the Pound closed at 1.5844. Casey writes about this double-top.
All in all, the Pound is trading in a range defined by two lines: 1.5720 supports from below and 1.6130. Also in the previous week, GBP/USD traded between these lines – it just closed lower. The 1.6130 resistance line was tested this week, making it stronger.
Below 1.5720, the next support line is at 1.5370, which served as a resistance line more than once. On the upside, a strengthening Pound will meet major resistance at 1.6660, which proved its strength many times in recent months.
I haven’t changed my sentiment: it’s Pound bearish. The past week’s dollar weakness didn’t help. Yet again, the Pound was left behind.
- For a broad view of the major events this week, read the Forex Weekly Outlook.
- For the Euro, read the EUR/USD Outlook.
- For the Canadian dollar, check out the USD/CAD Outlook.
- For the Australian dollar, read the AUD/USD Outlook.