GBP/USD posted sharp losses for a second straight week. The pound fell 2.1% and touched its lowest level since mid-January. Key events include inflation and retail sales data. Here is an outlook for the highlights of this week and an updated technical analysis for GBP/USD.
In the U.K., GDP reports were mixed. Monthly GDP declined in March by 0.1%, above the estimate of 0.0%. There was better news from the quarterly indicator. Preliminary GDP for Q1 came in at 0.5%, matching the forecast. This was up from final GDP in Q4, which climbed 0.2%. Manufacturing Production remained steady at 0.9% in March, crushing the estimate of 0.1%. On the Brexit front, there are rising concerns that Prime Minister May will fail to pass a withdrawal agreement through parliament. This means that a no-deal scenario remains on the table, which could severely damage the British economy. Prime Minister May’s talks with opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn proved inconclusive, and May’s days as prime minister may be numbered. British employment numbers were softer than expected. Wage growth slowed to 3.2%, down from 3.4% a month earlier. Unemployment rolls dropped to 24.7 thousand, above the estimate of 24.4 thousand.
Trade tensions between the U.S. and China shot up last week, boosting the safe-haven U.S. dollar. The U.S. and China exchanged tariffs on each other products, dampening hopes for a trade deal and weighing on risk appetite. Nervous investors have been dumping equities in favor of safe-haven assets, such as the U.S. dollar and the Japanese yen. On Friday, the U.S. raised tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods, from 10% to 25%. The move was announced a week ago, triggering sharp declines in the equity markets. The Chinese response was vigorous, as China retaliated with tariffs on $60 billion of U.S products. Although the U.S.and China are scheduled to continue trade talks, investors are wary after the latest tariff battle.
GBP/USD daily graph with resistance and support lines on it. Click to enlarge:
- CB Leading Index: Monday, 23:30. The Conference Board index is composed of 7 leading indicators. In February, the indicator posted a decline of 0.4%.
- Inflation Report Hearings: Tuesday, 8:30. BoE Mark Carney will testify before the Treasury Committee on inflation and the economic outlook. If Carney’s comments are more hawkish than expected, the pound could gain ground.
- CBI Industrial Order Expectations: Tuesday, 10:00. Manufacturing orders decreased in April, with a reading of -5. This was well off the forecast of 3. Another soft reading is expected in May, with an estimate of -6.
- Inflation Data: Wednesday, 8:30. CPI, the primary gauge of consumer spending, is expected to climb to 2.2% in April, after posting two successive gains of 1.9%. With inflation close to the BoE target of 2.0%, there is less pressure on rate-setters to change current interest rate levels. Core CPI is expected to climb from 1.8% to 1.9%.
- Retail Sales: Friday, 8:30. Retail sales has been showing sharp swings, making accurate estimates difficult. In March, the indicator jumped to 1.1%, compared to a gain of 0.4% in February. The April release is next.
- CBI Realized Sales: Friday, 10:00. Sales volume soared to 13 in April, its highest level since November. Will the positive trend continue in May?
* All times are GMT
GBP/USD Technical analysis
Technical lines from top to bottom:
With the pound dropping sharply last week, we begin at lower levels:
1.3170 was a swing high in early November.
1.3070 was a high point in mid-November.
1.2850 capped recovery attempts in late November.
1.2728 was active in the first half of January.
1.2660 is the next support level. 1.2590 was a swing low in September 2017.
Lower, 1.25 is a round number and also worked as support in early 2017. Further down, 1.2420 and 1.2330 are notable.
I am bearish on GBP/USD
The pound has slipped 2.4% in the month of May, and investors will be hard pressed to find reasons to buy cable. It remains unclear what will happen with Brexit, as parliament remains deeply divided on how to proceed. The U.S economy remains in excellent shape, and the safety of the U.S. dollar could continue to attract nervous investors.
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