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The British pound traded in a narrow range in the past week, but the upcoming week could see it break out, as the calendar is packed. Highlights are inflation and employment numbers. Here’s an outlook for the British events and an updated technical analysis for GBP/USD.

Yet again, no statement was released with the rate decision, showing the divided BoE once again. Apart from indicators, some central bankers will speak this week, and will also impact trading. Let’s start:

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

gbp usd forecast December 13-17

  1. Rightmove HPI: Monday, 00:00. Although this house price index isn’t the most accurate one available out there, it comes very early in the month (within the current month) and early in the week. After a sharp 3.2% drop last time, it’s expected to rise now.
  2. PPI Input: Monday, 9:30. Delayed from last week. Producer prices have “aligned” with CPI last month by jumping a whopping 2.1%. This will probably prove as a one time event, as prices are expected to rise by 0.7% this time. It’s a good warm up for the CPI.
  3. Charles Bean talks: Monday, 11:30. The latest rate decision didn’t include any statement, so the speech of the deputy governor Bean in London will supply some insight about what’s going on inside the central bank – and where monetary policy is headed.
  4. RICS House Price Balance: Tuesday, midnight. This housing indicator actually measures the balance between regions reporting rises in prices and regions reporting drops. The negative figure is expected to remain almost unchanged, at 48%, in line with other similar figures.
  5. CPI: Tuesday, 9:30. Consumer prices refuse to drop under 3% for quite a long time. CPI is expected to stubbornly remain at 3.1%, a small drop from last month’s 3.2%. Core CPI is also expected to edge down from 2.7% and 2.6%, and the RPI (Retail price index) is likely to tick from 4.5% to 4.4%. The focus is on the CPI, which justifies a rate hike in the eyes of MPC member Andrew Sentance.
  6. Employment data: Wednesday, 9:30.  Claimant Count Change is the key figure here – measuring the change in the number of people asking for unemployment benefits. Following a drop of 3700 last month, a drop of 2900 is expected in November. The unemployment rate relates to October and will probably remain unchanged at 7.7%. Note that the rate is highly quoted by the media, so a change here will also move the pound.
  7. CBI Realized Sales: Wednesday, 11:00. The Confederation of British Industry showed a surprising rise in sales volume last month, with the index jumping to 43 points. Another advance is now expected in this survey of 160 wholesalers and retailers, with a rise to 47 points.
  8. Adam Posen talks: Thursday, 8:@0. This MPC member is in serious opposition to governor Mervyn King. Not only does he want another dose of quantitative easing of 50 billion pounds, he also went publicly against King. So, his speech in Billericay is likely to rock the pound, as it did in previous speeches.
  9. Retail Sales: Thursday, 9:30. This important gauge of consumer spending and mood rose by 0.5% last month, exactly as expected, following two months of drops. Another rise of 0.5% is expected this time.
  10. Consumer Inflation Expectations: Thursday, 9:30. With higher inflation for a long time, this additional insight by the BOE is also important for the pound. Inflation expectations rose to 3.4% (annualized), higher than the CPI. A similar number is expected now.
  11. Nationwide Consumer Confidence: Friday, 00:00.  1000 consumers are surveyed by the Nationwide Consumer Society. After rising above 80 points in the summer, Nationwide has shown a gradual drop, with the indicator reaching 52 points last time. Another small drop is predicted now.

GBP/USD Technical Analysis

Cable was trading back and forth in between the 1.5650 and 1.5840 lines mentioned last week, eventually 30 almost in the same place as last week.

Looking down, 1.5725 continues to be a very minor line of support. 1.5650, which held the pair in October and later worked as resistance, is much stronger support.

Below, 1.5470 capped the pair during the summer and served as support in November. Lower, 1.5350 was a support line during August and September and also earlier in the year. It is now a strong line of support.

Even lower, 1.5230 capped the pair in the beginning of the summer, and is now support. It’s followed by 1.5120, which already worked as support, and is a minor line now.

Looking up, 1.5840 proved to be a strong line of resistance in the past week, and is the immediate cap now. Above, the round number of 1.60 capped the pair in July and is strong resistance.

Higher, 1.6107, the swing high, is the next line of resistance. Above, 1.6280 capped the pair at the beginning of November and also worked as support in the past. The last line for now is 1.6450, a line from the past.

I turn from neutral to bearish on GBP/USD.

After a week of standing in the same place, the bears have returned to Europe, and this has an impact on the pound as well. In addition, British fundamentals aren’t likely to boost cable.

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