GBP/USD was pressured as the PM struggles to muster a majority for her Brexit deal and as the USD gained ground. The ECJ ruling on Brexit joins other political developments and PMI’s. Here are the key events and an updated technical analysis for GBP/USD.
The EU Summit approved Brexit as widely expected but PM Theresa May returned home to face opposition from outside and from within. Economic assessments show that Britain will be poorer under any Brexit scenario and the battle to stop Brexit moves to the ECJ. The US Dollar remained strong amid Trump’s tough stance on trade and OK data. However, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said that rates are “just below” neutral, a comment perceived as a hint the Fed is ready to pause and this weakened the USD.
GBP/USD daily graph with resistance and support lines on it. Click to enlarge:
- Manufacturing PMI: Monday, 9:30. Markit’s first purchasing managers’ index is for the small, but export-oriented manufacturing sector. Despite a weaker pound, manufacturing has not boomed as expected. The forward-looking indicator stood at 51.1 points in October and an increase to 53 points is on the cards now. Any score above 50 indicates expansion while a drop below 50 implies contraction.
- BRC Retail Sales Monitor: Tuesday, 00:01. The British Retail Consortium’s gauge of sales has been qute mediocre in recent months, rising by only 0.1% y/y in October. A similar number is likely for November.
- ECJ opinion on revocability of Brexit: Tuesday. The General Advocate at the European Court of Justice will announce the non-binding opinion if Article 50 can be revoked unilaterally by the UK. There is no willingness in Downing 10 to do so, but if the vote in Parliament fails, pausing the exit process may be an option. The mere idea of having this option can boost the pound, and a rejection can send it lower. There is no indication as to where the wind blows.
- Construction PMI: Tuesday, 9:30. The second PMI is for the construction sector, which is quite a volatile one. A score of 53.2 points was reported by Markits in October.
- UK Services PMI: Wednesday, 9:30. The third and last of Markit’s PMI figures are for the largest sector and tends to be a significant market mover for the pound. The score stood at 52.2 points in October, a level that represents low growth. The upcoming publication for November may be even lower given the high level of uncertainty around Brexit.
- RICS House Price Balance: Thursday, 00:01. This gauge dropped sharply in October, hitting -10%,. This implies more surveyors reporting a drop in house prices. A bounce may be seen now.
- Halifax HPI: Friday, 8:30. The Halifax Bank of Scotland showed an increase in house prices in October, up 0.7% after a two conseuctive months of drops. Another increase would indicate that stability has returned ahead of Brexit.
- Consumer Inflation Expectations: Friday, 9:30. The Bank of England’s survey of 2,000 consumers showed picked up in Q3 2018 and reached 3%, rising from 2.9%. The data for Q4 may show some moderation.
* All times are GMT
GBP/USD Technical analysis
Pound/dollar had a choppy week and was supported around 1.2750 (mentioned last week).
Technical lines from top to bottom:
1.3375 was a high point in July. It is followed by 1.3300 was the high point in September and also a psychologically important round number.
1.3255 was the high point in mid-October, ahead of the EU Summit on Brexit. 1.3170 was a swing high in early November.
1.3070 was a high point in mid-November. The round number of 1.3000 is important after providing support to the pair in late September. 1.2910 was a high point in late November.
Further down, 1.2790 served as support late August and also beforehand. 1.2725 was a low point in late November. 1.2700 was the low point in late October.
The current 2018 trough at 1.2660 is the next level. 1.2590 was a swing low in September 2017.
Even lower, 1.25 is a round number and also worked as support in early 2017.
I am neutral on GBP/USD
While everybody wants to get on with Brexit, the debate in Parliament is expected to confirm once again that Theresa May does not command a majority and the pound is set to suffer. The data is unlikely to beat expectations, and neither is US data. On the other hand, if the ECJ opens the door to withdrawing from Brexit, the pound could rise. There are a lot of unknowns in the process. Things can improve in the following week.
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