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After rocking mostly on global events, the upcoming week consists of many important indicators that will rock the pound. Here’s an outlook for the British events and an updated technical analysis for GBP/USD.

Employment figures were quite confusing. A drop in the number of people claiming unemployment benefits was offset by a rise in the unemployment rate. Will we receive more confusing signals now and see more choppy trading? Let’s start:

GBP/USD daily chart with support and resistance lines marked. Click to enlarge:

GBP/USD Chart March 21-25

  1. Rightmove HPI: Monday, 00:00. This early housing report provides a strong start to the week. Last month saw a big leap in house prices, although it’s important to note that this indicator tends to be volatile. A small fall is expected now.
  2. CPI: Tuesday, 9:30. Inflation is a heated debate in Britain for for over a year, since it jumped above the 1-3% target. Last month, the consumer price index reached the round number of 4% (annualized). It is now expected to edge higher to 4.2% and increase the already strong pressure for a rate hike in the UK. It’s also important to watch Core CPI, which already fell back below 3% and and climbed back there last month. It’s expected to rise to 3.2%. And, last but not least, the RPI (Retail Price Index), often reflects what consumers feel, and it’s expected to tick up from 5.1% to 5.2%.
  3. Public Sector Net Borrowing: Tuesday, 9:30. Slightly overshadowed by the inflation figures, this figure is important to the current British government, which is imposing strict austerity measures to cut the deficit. Last month saw a negative number (-5.3 billion), meaning that the government institutions actually had a surplus. We now expect a fresh deficit of the same size. Another surplus will boost the pound.
  4. CBI Industrial Order Expectations: Tuesday, 11:00. The Confederation of British Industry has shown gradual and choppy improvements, but the figure remained negative, meaning that expectations for lower volume were decreasing. But this trend stopped two months ago. From -8, we now expect a rise to -5.
  5. MPC Meeting Minutes: Wednesday, 9:30. In the previous rate decision, we already had 3 members voting for a rate hike. The long time hawk Andrew Sentance voted for a rise of 0.50%, while Martin and Weale and Spencer Dale voted for a 0.25% hike. The same vote: 6:3 is expected to be seen now. The addition of Dale, an internal member, pushed the pound higher when this was published last time. If another one joins, watch cable fly. But this is highly unlikely.
  6. BBA Mortgage Approvals: Wednesday, 9:30. The British Bankers’ Association represents around two thirds of UK mortgages. Their early report is important and has shown an erosion in the number of approvals, reflecting the weakness of the housing sector. Thirs time, a small rise from 28.9 to 29.4K is expected.
  7. Annual Budget Release: Wednesday, 12:30. George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, will appear before parliament and will present the new budget. This long session usually contains forecasts for the economy, unemployment and measures such as new taxation. The pound will rock during the session.
  8. Retail Sales: Thursday, 9:30. Consumers were quite active last month, and provided hope. The volume of sales at retail stores jumped by 1.9%, triple the expectations. A correction is expected this time in this significant gauge – 0.4%.

* All times are GMT

GBP/USD Technical Analysis

At the beginning of the week, cable was struggling between and around the 1.60 and 1.6110 lines (mentioned last week). The wild action on Friday eventually sent the pair to a higher close at 1.6232, still within the range.

Looking up, the 1.6280 – 1.63 region is still of high importance. As written beforehand, the breaks of this peak, reached in November, were false breaks,and the pair continues to trade lower.

Higher, an old peak at 1.6450 is the next line, after being a swing high back at the beginning of 2010. In case of a real convincing break, this line will be encountered.

Above, important resistance is found at 1.67 which prevented further moves back in 2009. In the distance, 1.7040, the peak of 2009 is the last stronghold.

Looking down, very minor support still appears at 1.6110. It worked as resistance earlier and is now weak support. Much stronger support is found at 1.60, which is not only a round number, but also a former peak and a distinctive line in both directions.

1.60 is very closely followed by 1.5960, which was a bottom back in February and is another line of support.

Looking lower, we find 1.5820, which worked in both directions before the pair moved higher.  Next down the road, 1.5750 which is already a stronger line, that worked in recent months.  Below there is a significant line – 1.5650. This was the upper border of wide range that GBP/USD traded before shifting to a higher range.

Even lower, 1.5480 is a minor support line after being a swing low back in November. The last and strong line for now is 1.5350 – which was a strong floor for the pair.

I remain bearish on GBP/USD

Despite the dollar’s weakness, GBP/USD didn’t break out of range. The European rate hike will probably be realized before the British one. As the services sector is still heavy and oil prices weigh on Britain as well, the weakness of the economy is apparent.


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