The British pound plunged last week, as GBP/USD lost over 300 points. The pair closed at 1.4614. This week’s highlights are CPI and Claimant Count Change. Here is an outlook on the major events moving the pound and an updated technical analysis for GBP/USD.
The pound took a dive following weak UK manufacturing numbers, election uncertainties, and hawkish sentiment in the FOMC minutes. In the US, employment job numbers rebounded last week. JOLTS Job Openings improved and the 4-week jobless claims was the lowest since 2000.Updates:
GBP/USD graph with support and resistance lines on it. Click to enlarge:
- BRC Retail Sales Monitor: Tuesday, 00:01. This indicator looks at the change in retail sales value in BRC shops. The index has posted two straight gains of 0.2%, pointing to weak spending by the UK consumer. We’ll get a look at official retail sales numbers next week.
- CPI: Tuesday, 9:30. This is the first key event of the week. Inflation levels continue to head lower in the UK, as CPI slipped to 0.0% in February, very close to the forecast. No change is expected in the March report.
- PPI Input: Tuesday, 9:30. This manufacturing inflation indicator has struggled, as the February gain of 0.2% broke a long string of declines. This reading was well off the forecast of 1.6%. The markets are expecting a downturn in the March release, with an estimate of -0.5%.
- RPI: Tuesday, 9:30. This consumer inflation indicator includes housing prices, which are excluded from the CPI release. Like CPI, the indicator has been on a sustained slide, and softened to 1.0% in February, within expectations. The markets are expecting another 1.0% gain in the March report.
- CB Leading Index: Wednesday, 2:30. This minor event is based on 7 economic indicators. The indicator posted a small gain of 0.2%in January. Will we see more of the same in the February release?
- RICS House Balance: Thursday, 00:01. This indicator provides a snapshot of a activity in the UK housing sector. In February, the indicator improved to 14%, easily beating the forecast of 6%. Little change is expected in the March report, with a estimate of 15%.
- Average Earnings Index: Friday, 9:30. This is a key indicator of consumer inflation. The index dipped to 1.8% in January, short of the forecast of 2.2%. The estimate for the February release stands at 1.8%.
- Claimant Count Change: Friday, 9:30. Claimant Change is one of the most important economic indicators, and an unexpected reading can have an immediate impact on the direction of GBP/USD. The indicator continues to shine, as UK unemployment rolls keep getting smaller. The February reading came in at -31.0 thousand, close to the forecast. Another strong reading is expected in the March report, with a estimate of -29.0 thousand.
* All times are GMT
GBP/USD Technical Analysis
GBP/USD opened the week at 1.4920 and touched a high of 1.4981, as resistance held firm at 1.5008 (discussed last week). The pair then sharply reversed directions and slid to a low of 1.4587. The pair closed the week at 1.4614.
Live chart of GBP/USD:
Technical lines from top to bottom
With the pound posting huge drops, we begin at lower levels:
1.5114 has been a resistance line since mid-March.
1.5008 held firm for a third straight week, as the pair pushed higher early in the week before dropping sharply.
1.4813 was easily breached and has switched to a resistance role. It marked the start of a pound rally in July 2013 that saw GBP/USD climb above 1.61.
1.4621 has also reverted to a support role following strong losses by the pound. This line was an important cap in August 2001.
1.4521 is providing support. This line has remained intact since June 2010.
1.4346 is the next support level.
The final support line for now is 1.4227.
I am bearish on GBP/USD.
The pound took a beating last week, even without stellar US data. Will the greenback’s rally continue? UK inflation is in a nosedive, and this could hurt the pound. US employment data rebounded nicely last week following the dismal NFP report and market sentiment on the US economy remains strong.
In this week’s podcast, we discuss: USDown or greenback comeback? And also touch other topics:
- For a broad view of all the week’s major events worldwide, read the USD outlook.
- For EUR/USD, check out the Euro to Dollar forecast.
- For the Japanese yen, read the USD/JPY forecast.
- For the kiwi, see the NZDUSD forecast.
- For the Australian dollar (Aussie), check out the AUD to USD forecast.
- USD/CAD (loonie), check out the Canadian dollar.