GBP/USD reversed directions last week and climbed 150 points. GBP/USD closed at 1.6728. This week’s highlights are CPI and Claimant Count Change. Here is an outlook for the main events moving the pound, and an updated technical analysis for GBP/USD.
There were no surprises from the Bank of England, as QE and interest levels remained unchanged. Strong manufacturing and GDP data helped lift the pound against a sagging US dollar. In the US, unemployment claims dropped to a six-year low and consumer sentiment wrapped up the week on a high note.Updates:
- BRC Retail Sales Monitor: Monday, 23:01. This indicator measures retail sales in the BRC chain of stores. The February release disappointed with a decline of 1.0%, its worst showing since last April. The markets will be hoping for a turnaround in the upcoming release.
- CPI: Tuesday, 8:30. CPI is the primary gauge of consumer inflation. The index has been dropping steadily since mid-2013. The February release came in at 1.7%, matching the forecast. The downward trend is expected to continue, with an estimate of 1.6%.
- PPI Input: Tuesday, 8:30. The Producer Price Index Input looks at inflation in the manufacturing sector. The index has looked weak, with six declines in the past seven releases. Another drop is expected, with the estimate standing at -0.1%.
- RPI: Tuesday, 8:30. Retail Price Index has been steady, posting a gain of 2.7% last month, edging out the estimate of 2.6%. The estimate for the March release stands at 2.5%.
- Claimant Count Change: Wednesday, 8:30. Claimant Count Change is one of the most important indicators, and can have a significant impact on the movement of USD/CAD. The indicator, which measures the change in unemployment claims, looked solid in February, with a reading of -34.6 thousand. This easily beat the estimate of -23.3 thousand. Another sharp decline is expected in March, with the estimate standing at -30.2 thousand. Will the indicator repeat and beat the prediction? The unemployment rate is expected to remain unchanged at 7.2%.
- Average Earnings Index: Wednesday, 8:30. The indicator is an important gauge of consumer inflation. It has been steadily rising, climbing to 1.4% in February, edging above the estimate of 1.3%. The upward trend is expected to continue, with an estimate of 1.8% for March.
* All times are GMT
GBP/USD Technical Analysis
GBP/USD opened the week at 1.6578. The pair dipped to a low of 1.6565 but it was all uphill after that. GBP/USD broke above the 1.68 line and touched a high of 1.6820, stopping short of resistance at 1.6823 (discussed last week). GBP/USD closed the week at 1.6728.
Live chart of GBP/USD:
Technical lines from top to bottom
We begin 1.7180, which has served in a resistance since October 2008.
1.6990 is next. This line is protecting the key psychological level of 1.70.
1.6823 has remained intact since November 2009 and is a strong line of resistance. The line held firm as the pound broke above the 1.68 line before retracting.
1.6705 is providing support to the pair. It is a weak line and could see action early in the week.
The round number of 1.6600 is a strong support line. It has remained intact since early April, when the pound started its current rally. 1.6475 is the next support level.
1.6343 saw some activity in early February but has provided strong support since that time. The next support line is 1.6247.
1.6163 is the final support line for now. It was a key resistance line in October and November 2012.
I am neutral on GBP/USD.
GBP/USD continues to send mixed messages, as the pair rebounded nicely last week after losses a week earlier. Much will depend on the Claimants Count Change release. In the US, employment numbers have been decent and an expected QE taper later this month is dollar-positive.
- 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 Australian dollar (Aussie), check out the AUD to USD forecast.