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The British pound  sustained sharp  losses last week,  as GBP/USD closed the week below the 1.50 level. This was the first time the pair has slipped below this symbolic level since July 2013. This week’s major event is Preliminary GDP. Here is an outlook on the major events moving the pound and an updated technical analysis for GBP/USD.

The pound has had a miserable January, losing over 500 points against the US dollar.  The BOE vote to hold interest rates was unanimous, reflective of the low inflation environment in the UK. Retail Sales was better than expected, but this didn’t help the ailing pound, which has dropped below the 1.50 line. In the US, Unemployment Claims disappointed and Existing Home Sales missed expectations.

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

GBPUSD_Forecast Jan.26-30.

  1. BBA Mortgage Approvals: Monday, 9:30. This is an important gauge of demand in the UK housing sector. The indicator has been on a downtrend for five months, dropping to 36.7 thousand in December. This was slightly below the forecast of 37.3 thousand. No change is expected in the upcoming reading.
  2. Preliminary GDP: Tuesday, 9:30.  GDP, which is released every quarter, is the major event of the week. The indicator edged lower to 0.7% in Q3, matching the estimate. The downward trend is expected to continue in the Q4 reading, with an estimate of 0.6%.
  3. Nationwide HPI: Thursday, 7:00. Housing inflations indicators are excellent indicators of activity in the housing sector. The index dropped to 0.2% in December, short of the estimate of 0.4%. The markets are expecting a stronger reading in the January reading, with an estimate of 0.4%.
  4. CBI Realized Sales:  Thursday, 11:00. This indicator is an important gauge of consumer spending, an important engine of economic growth. The indicator jumped to 61 points in  December, crushing the  estimate of 30 points. The markets with be hoping for another strong performance.
  5. GfK Consumer Confidence: Thursday, 12:05.  Consumer confidence has  been  steadily losing ground, slipping to -4 points in December, which points to  pessimism on the part of the UK consumer. Another decline is expected in the  January reading, with an estimate of -2 points.
  6. Net Lending to Individuals: Friday, 9:30. The demand for credit is linked to consumer spending, as increased borrowing usually translates into higher spending. The indicator improved to GBP 3.2 billion in December, its highest level in four months. Little change is expected in the upcoming reading.

* All times are GMT

GBP/USD Technical Analysis

GBP/USD opened the week at 1.5141  and climbed to high of 1.5212. The pair then reversed directions,  breaking below  support at 1.4978 (discussed last week) and touching a low of    1.4951. GBP/USD closed the week at 1.4978.

Live chart of GBP/USD:

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Technical lines from top to bottom

With the pound losing ground last week, we begin at lower levels:

1.5416 was an important support line in June 2013, at which time the pound broke through and continued to slide and fell below the 1.49 line.

1.5290 is the next resistance line.

1.5114 has reverted to a resistance line following strong losses by the pound. This line had held firm since  August 2013.

1.5008 has also switched to a resistance role, but is a weak line and could see action early in the week.

1.4813 marked the start of a pound rally in July 2013 that saw GBP/USD climb above 1.61.

1.4752 has held firm since May 2009.

1.4562 is the final  support  level for now. It  has provided support since  November 2008.

I am  bearish on GBP/USD.

With inflation levels continuing to falter in the UK, the markets are no longer sure about a rate hike by the BOE. In the US, the Fed will release its statement, and a rate hike sometime during the year remains on the table. This divergence favors the US dollar, which is also benefitting from the strong US economy.

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