GBP/USD Outlook April 23-27

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GBP/USD climbed to levels not seen since October 2011, as the pair gained almost 300 pips, closing the week at 1.6120. The upcoming week promises to be busy, with eight releases, including the key release of Preliminary GDP. Here is an outlook for the upcoming events, and an updated technical analysis for GBP/USD.

The GBP/USD broke out of range with a bang, enjoying a leap in retail sales, as well as a much lower chance of QE in Britain, with the long standing dove Adam Posen turning hawkish. The pair also enjoyed the weak US economic data, including the key unemployment claims Indicator. We could see this momentum carry on into the upcoming week.

Updates: GBP/USD has slid below the 1.61 level, trading at 1.6083. The markets are waiting for the release of the Public Sector Net Borrowing on Tuesday. The market prediction is not looking good, calling for the deficit to increase to 15.6B, up from 12.9B in March. Public Sector Borrowing ballooned last month, as the reading of 15.9B was even worse than the market forecast of 15.0B. This was the highest deficit recorded by the public sector since April 2011. GBP/USD has moved upwards, trading at 1.6158. The pair is now at its highest level since last October. British GDP dropped 0.2% in Q3, disappointing the markets, which had forecast a 0.1% increase. Index of Services was also weak, posting a reading of 0.2%. This was well below the market forecast of 0.6%. The pound is dropping and testing the 1.61 level, as GBP/USD is trading at 1.6099.  GBP has recovered and is moving upwards, trading at 1.6177. Nationwide Consumer Confidence sparkled last month, posting a reading of 53. This easily surpassed the market forecast of 42, and was the highest reading in almost a year. GBP continues to edge upwards, trading at 1.6177.

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

  1. Public Sector Net Borrowing: Tuesday, 8:30.  In March, this key indicator posted a large deficit of 12.9B, well above the market forecast of 5.2B. The forecast for April is even worse, at 15.6B. If public spending continues to spiral upwards, the markeets are sure to take note, and the pound could be affected as a result.
  2. Prelim GDP: Wednesday, 8:30. Another key economic indicator, GDP is released each quarter.  The reading for Q4 of 2011 was -0.2%, the indicator’s  worst numbers since January 2011. The markets are predicting a rebound for the Q1 reading, with a forecast of 0.1%. Will GBP bounce back into positive territory?
  3. CBI Industrial Order Expectations: Wednesday, 10:00. This diffusion index, based on surveyed manufacturers, declined sharply in March, posting a reading of -8. This was well below the market forecast of -3. No change is expected in the April reading.
  4. Nationwide Consumer Confidence: Wednesday, publication time tentative. Consumer Confidence was a disappointment in March, as the reading of 44 was well off the market forecast of 49. The markets are predicting a further decline, with a prediction of 42 for the April reading.
  5. BBA Mortgage Approvals: Thursday, 8:30. Last month’s release came in at 33.1K, well below the market forecast of 39.1K. The markets are predicting a very slight improvement in April, of 34.3K.
  6. CBI Realized Sales: Thursday, 10:00. This diffusion index is based on surveyed retailers and wholesalers. The index posted a flat 0.0 reading in March, which was actually the highest reading since December 2011. For April, the markets are forecasting a drop by the indicator, to -3. Will the indicator surprise the markets and move into positive territory?
  7. GfK Consumer Confidence: Thursday, 23:01. The UK consumer remains very pessimistic about the economy. The March reading for the index was  a very weak -31, the lowest level since last December. The markets are calling for a modest improvement in April, of -29.
  8. Nationwide HPI: Publication time tentative.  The housing inflation index is pointing to very weak activity in the housing sector. The index dropped 1%, its worst performance in over two years. Will April bring better news?

*All times are GMT

GBP/USD Technical Analysis

GBP/USD opened the week at 1.5837. After dropping slightly to a low of 1.5818, the pair easily broke through the important 1.60 level (discussed last week), climbing all the way to 1.6150. The pair closed at 1.6120, as the pound put on a spectacular performance.

Technical levels from top to bottom

With GBP/USD breaking the 1.60 level this week, we start from higher levels. The line of 1.6617 is providing strong resistance, and has not been breached since May 2011. This is followed by resistance at 1.6570, which has held firm since last August. Below, there is resistance at 1.6474. After falling below this level last summer, GBP/USD went on a sharp spiral downwards, which lasted until October 2011.

Next, 1.6356, is providing the pair with strong resistance. This is followed by the resistance line of 1.6265, which was severely tested in July and August 2011. Below, 1.6132 has provided resistance since November 2011. It was briefly breached this week, and could fall if the pound continues its remarkable rise.

The 1.6065 line now finds itself in a support role, after providing resistance in the latter part of 2011. This is followed by the psychologically important line of 1.60, where we could see further movement if the dollar rebounds after a disastrous showing this week. Next, 1.5923 is a fluid line, and is currently providing the pair with weak support.

Below, 1.5805 is providing GBP/USD with weak support. The pair has showed a lot of movement around this line in April. Close below, 1.5750 is the next support level. It has provided the pair with support since mid-March. We conclude with 1.5639, which has been providing support since January.

According to the latest Elliott Wave Analysis, GBP/USD is in bullish mode. See the waves and the next levels here.

I remain bullish on GBP/USD.

GBP/USD made one of its biggest moves of the year last week, climbing as high as the mid-1.61 level. What’s next for the pound? With higher inflation, not-so-bad unemployment and stronger consumer spending, the central bank could soon discuss hiking interest rates rather than adding to QE.

Further reading:

Get the 5 most predictable currency pairs

About Author

Kenny Fisher - Senior Writer A native of Toronto, Canada, Kenneth worked for seven years in the marketing and trading departments at Bendix, a foreign exchange company in Toronto. Kenneth is also a lawyer, and has extensive experience as an editor and writer.

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