GBP/USD had an uneventful week and was practically unchanged. The pair closed the week just shy of the 1.68 line. This week’s highlights are Preliminary GDP and Construction and Manufacturing PMIs. Here is an outlook for the main events moving the pound, and an updated technical analysis for GBP/USD.
In the UK, Retail Sales sagged in March but managed to beat the estimate. Over in the US, key releases pointed in all directions last week. Employment and housing data disappointed, but manufacturing and consumer confidence numbers looked sharp.Updates:
- Preliminary GDP: Tuesday, 8:30. This is one of the most important economic indicators and should be regarded by traders as a market-mover which could affect the direction of GBP/USD in a hurry. It is released every quarter, magnifying the impact of each release. The indicator continues to point to solid economic growth and posted a gain of 0.7% in Q4. The markets are expecting better news out of Q1, with an estimate of 0.9%.
- 10-year Bond Auction: Tuesday, Tentative. The average yield on 10-year bonds rose to 2.93% in the February release, marking a five-month high. As a minor event, the release is not likely to impact on GBP/USD, but helps analysts gauge the level of investor confidence.
- GfK Consumer Confidence: Wednesday, 23:05. Despite a stronger British economy, consumer confidence remains mired in negative territory, pointing to a pessimistic British consumer. However, the indicator has been steadily improving, and last month’s reading of -5 points was a five-year high. The estimate for the March release stands at -4 points.
- BOE Chief Economist Spencer Dale Speaks: Wednesday, 15:30. Dale will testify before the Treasury Select Committee in London. Analysts will be looking for any hints regarding the BOE’s future monetary policy, particularly interest rate levels.
- Nationwide HPI: Thursday, 6:00. The index is an important gauge of activity in the housing sector and also helps measure the depth of consumer spending. The indicator dipped to 0.4% in March, its worst showing in close to a year. This fell short of the estimate of 0.7%. The markets are expecting better news in April, with the estimate standing at 0.6%.
- Manufacturing PMI: Thursday, 8:30. The index has been posting releases in the mid-50s range, indicative of expansion in the manufacturing sector. More of the same is forecast in April, with the estimate standing at 55.4 points.
- Net Lending To Individuals: Thursday, 8:30. Borrowing is closely linked to consumer spending, a key engine of economic growth. The indicator has been steady, coming in at GBP 2.3 billion last month. The markets are expecting an identical reading got the April release.
- BOE Deputy Governor Jon Cunliffe Speaks: Thursday, 17:30. Cunliffe will address the banking community at an event in London. Remarks that are more hawkish than expected is bullish for the pound.
- Construction PMI: Friday, 8:30. The week wraps up with a key event, Construction PMI. The index continues to hover above the 60-point level, indicating strong expansion in the construction industry. Another strong reading is expected this week.
* All times are GMT
GBP/USD Technical Analysis
GBP/USD opened the week at 1.6784. The pair quickly moved higher, breaking through resistance at 1.6823 (discussed last week) and touching a high of 1.6839. GBP/USD then retracted slightly, closing the week at 1.6796.
Live chart of GBP/USD:
Technical lines from top to bottom
We begin with resistance at 1.7375. This line marked the start of a sharp pound rally in March 2006, which saw the GBP/USD push above 2.11.
Next is 1.7180, which has served in a resistance since October 2008. 1.6990 is protecting the key psychological level of 1.70.
1.6823 was breached for the second straight week, but remained in a resistance role at the end of the week. This weak line could face pressure early in the week.
1.6705 continues as the pair’s first support level. It has some breathing room as GBP/USD remains close to 1.68.
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 has been listless since mid-April – will the pair finally break out? A strong British GDP could boost the pound, which has been content to hug the 1.68 line. As well, this week’s PMIs could affect the currency. In the US, an expected QE taper could help the US dollar, and the all-important NFPs will likely affect the pair’s movement.
- 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.