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The British pound managed to break higher, riding on the greenback’s weakness. It’s now facing a big test – the initial GDP release for Q1 awaits us this week, among other events. Here’s an outlook for the British events, and an updated technical analysis for GBP/USD.

The meeting minutes of the last rate decision revealed that the central bankers are still reluctant about raising the rates, probably pushing the decision further ahead in the year. The pound did get a boost from a rise in retail sales. Will consumer confidence be seen now as well?

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

GBP USD Forecast April 25-29

  1. Nationwide HPI: Publication time unknown at the moment. Nationwide is relatively positive in recent months, showing nice rises in the past two months – 0.7% and 0.5%. Other house price indices have shown more caution. A small gain of 0.3% is expected now.
  2. CBI Industrial Order Expectations: Tuesday, 10:00.   Manufacturers have been surprisingly bullish in the past month, setting the score on a positive 5 points after a long period of negative numbers. A positive figure of 3 points, reflecting future growth (and not contraction as in negative numbers) is predicted now.
  3. GDP: Wednesday, 8:30. The initial release of GDP for the first quarter of 2011 is expected to show growth at a rate of 0.5%. These were the expectations in Q4 of 2010, but the result was a shocker – contraction of 0.5%. This fall of the economy was blamed by the severe weather that hit Britain during Q4, but the result wouldn’t be too good even without the snow. PMI figures have indeed shown signs of growth in Q1. Any result will rock the pound for many hours.
  4. BBA Mortgage Approvals: Wednesday, 8:30. The British Bankers’ Association represents around two thirds of mortgages approved in the UK. This release will probably be overshadowed by the GDP release, but a big surprise here could also have an impact on the pound. After last month’s surprising improvement to almost 30K, the number of approvals are now expected to rise to 30,600.
  5. GfK Consumer Confidence: Wednesday, 23:00. A drop in consumer confidence has been seen in GfK’s survey as well as others’. After advancing to -19 points a few months ago (pessimistic, but better than earlier), this indicator dropped again, reaching -28 last month. A small improvement to -26 is expected now.

* All times are GMT

GBP/USD Technical Analysis

The pound had a bad start to the week, but it later recovered, and after a struggle with the 1.64 line (mentioned last week), the pair conquered it and manged to pass through 1.6450 as well, with looking back, to close around the line of 1.6515.

Looking down, 1.6515, which was support at the end of 2009 is not the immediate point of reference, being a pivotal line. It’s followed by 1.6450, that brings us back to January 2010, when it was a swing high before the fall.

Minor support is found at 1.64, which was a peak a few weeks ago. Much stronger support appears at the 1.6280 – 1.63 area.  Tis line is weakening, after being broken too many time recently. It was a peak back in November and worked as resistance since then.

Moving lower, the next line of support is rather minor – 1.6110 – it switched roles, and in the past few weeks prevented deeper falls.  It’s followed by the round number of 1.60 continues to work as support, since August 2010, when it was a peak. It’s importance is diminishing.

Stronger support is found at 1.5940 after it prevented a bigger fall. This is the key line on the downside now.  Lower, the 1.5820 line, which served in both directions before the pair moved higher is a minor support line.

Not too far down, 1.5750 which is already a stronger line provides somewhat stronger support. There are further lines below, but they’re too far at the moment.

Looking up, 1.66, the peak seen just now is the immediate line of resistance. Stronger resistance is at  1.67, which capped the pair several times at that period of time.

Moving higher the pair will encounter 1.6877 which was a peak another peak. It’s only minor resistance now. The last resistance line is 1.7042,  a peak reached in August 2009, and the highest level since the height of the financial crisis.

I remain bearish on GBP/USD.

The British pound has less reasons to rise – not only is the economy weak and undergoing harsh austerity. This may be seen in weaker GDP. Not only is inflation easing, but the members of the MPC are very reluctant to raise the rates once again. More dollar weakness, at the US rate decision could push the pair higher, but not for long.

Another opinion-  FX Tech Strategy sees more gains after the pair broke out of the sideways range.

Further reading:

 

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