GBP/USD Outlook Aug. 20-24

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GBP/USD continued to be marked by narrow range trading, and was almost unchanged over the week, closing at 1.5688. Highlights of the upcoming week include Public Sector Net Borrowing and GDP. Here is an outlook of the upcoming events, and an updated technical analysis for GBP/USD.

Both the UK and US had some strong releases, last week with the UK showing better employment data, while the US had a strong consumer confidence release. As a a result, GBP/USD traded in a narrow range, unable to sustain a breakout in either direction.

Updates: Rightmove HPI looked very weak, declining by 2.4%. This was the lowest reading since December 2011. Public Sector Net Borrowing will be released on Tuesday. The markets are expecting a surplus, which would be the first since May. Public Sector Net Borrowing posted a surplus of 1.78 billion pounds. This was below the market estimate of a surplus of 2.7 billion pounds. CBI Industrial Order Expectations was awful, posting a reading of -21 points. This was the lowest reading in 2012, indicating deep pessimism about the manufacturing sector. There are no scheduled releases on Wednesday. The pound continues to rise, and briefly pushed across the 1.58 line. GBP/USD was trading at 1.5798, as the pound is at its highest levels since May. BBA Mortgages came in at 28.4 thousand, just above the estimate of 28.2K. The pound continues to rise, as minutes of the recent Federal Reserve Policy Meeting indicated that the Fed would consider QE if economic conditions did not substantially improve. The pound was testing the 1.59 line, as GBP/USD was trading at 1.5893.

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

  1. Rightmove HPI: Sunday, 23:01. This housing inflation index fell 1.7% in July, indicating reduced activity in the UK housing sector. The markets are hoping for an improvement in the August reading.
  2. Public Sector Net Borrowing: Tuesday, 8:30. After a large deficit in the July reading, the markets are predicting a surplus this month. This would be bullish for the pound.
  3. CBI Industrial Order Expectations: Tuesday, 10:00. This indicator has been improving, but is still in negative territory, with a July release of -7 points. The markets will  be hoping for an improved reading in this month’s release.
  4. BBA Mortgage Approvals: Thursday, 8:30. There was a drop in the number of mortgage approvals last month, but the markets are predicting an improvement in August, with an estimate of 28.2 thousand.
  5. CBI Realized Sales: Thursday, 10:00. This consumer spending indicator came in below forecast in July, but the markets are expecting a significant improvement, with a forecast 16 points.
  6. Revised GDP: Friday, 8:30. GDP, released negatively, has posted negative numbers for the past two quarters. The markets are predicting another poor release for Q2, with an estimate of -0.5%. Another negative reading would be another sign of a weak UK economy and could hurt the pound.
  7. Preliminary Business Investment. Friday, 8:30. This indicator looked very strong in Q1, jumping 3.6%. The estimate for Q2 is a respectable 2.8% gain.

*All times are GMT

GBP/USD Technical Analysis

GBP/USD opened the week at 1.5656, and dropped to a low of 1.5636. The pair then touched a high of 1.5744, and closed at 1.5688. The support line of 1.5658 (discussed last week), was briefly breached as the pound edged downwards, but ended the week in a support role as the pair retraced.

Technical lines from top to bottom:

We start with resistance at 1.6122, which has not been tested since May. The next line of resistance is at 1.6060. Below, is the line of 1.5992, protecting the important 1.60 level. This is followed by resistance at 1.5930. The next resistance line is just above the 1.58 line, at 1.5805. This line was last breached in late May, as the pound went on a sharp slide. Close by, there is resistance at 1.5750.

Next is 1.5648 which has been tested frequently by the pair over the past several month. Currently, it is providing the pair with weak support. Look for this line to be tested by the pair. This is followed by support at the round figure of 1.5600. Next, there is support at 1.5521.

Below, the pair is receiving support at 1.5415, which was last tested in mid-July. The next support level is at 1.5229. This is followed by 1.5124, which has not been tested since July 2010. The final line for now is support at 1.5054, a line which has held firm since June 2010.

I am neutral on GBP/USD.

GBP/USD has been marked by choppiness in July and August, unable to sustain a breakout in either direction for more than a very short period of time. The UK economy is struggling more than that of the US, but mixed releases out of the US have not impressed either. We could see the pair continue to range trade, absent unexpected data out of either the US or the UK.

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.