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Looking for the latest outlook, for the current week? Check out the section: British Pound Forecast

British growth was dwarfed by the American one, and the Pound ended the week lower. The upcoming week provides lots of important releases, with an interesting rate hike being the highlight. Here’s an outlook for the upcoming week in the Pound, and an updated technical analysis for GBP/USD.

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

GBP/USD Forecast

Britain is officially out of recession, but the growth rate is very small, 0.1%, and this can be easily erased in the upcoming revisions. How will this be reflected in the rate decision? Let’s start the review. The technical analysis will follow:

  1. Halifax HPI: Publication time is unknown at the moment. This is a late though accurate house price index. According to HBOS, prices have risen in the past 6 months. Last month saw a slower rise of 1%. This rise is expected to ease once again to 0.9%. A rise in house prices is fueling inflation, but this doesn’t impress Mervyn King.
  2. Manufacturing PMI: Published on Monday at 9:30 GMT. This important indicator provides a strong start for the week. Britain’s manufacturing sector has been expanding in the last quarter of 2009, reaching a score of 54.1 points. This good number, within a safe distance of the pivotal 50 line, is expected to remain almost unchanged, and rise to 54.2.
  3. Net Lending to Individuals: Published on Monday at 9:30 and overshadowed by the previous figure. Growing borrowing means more confidence and more spending. Britain enjoyed 4 straight months of positive lending, with a positive surprise of a 1.1 billion result last month. Net lending is expected to ease to 0.9 billion this time.
  4. Construction PMI: Published on Tuesday at 9:30 GMT. Contrary to the rising house prices, the construction sector is still contracting. Purchasing managers’ index in this sector did not recover from the global crisis and is still under 50. Last month saw a modest rise to 47.1, and this time expectations stand on 48.3 points, the highest in almost two years.
  5. Nationwide Consumer Confidence: Published on Wednesday at midnight GMT. This important survey made nice gains throughout 2009, but slipped down from 74 to 69 points last month. Consumer confidence is necessary for economic recovery. It’s expected to edge up this time.
  6. Services PMI: Published on Wednesday at 9:30 GMT. According to purchasing managers, the services sector is doing better than the manufacturing one. A positive score has been seen for 8 months, with three recent months of high values (56.8 last month). This good stability is predicted to remain, with 56.6 this time – strong expansion.
  7. Rate decision: Published on Thursday at 12:00 GMT. Mervyn King is expected to leave the Official Bank Rate at 0.5% for another month. Last month’s decision didn’t really move the Pound. But this time, the money is running out of the Quantitative Easing program. The bank’s Asset Purchase Facility had 7 billion pounds left, and the estimation was that money was running out of it. Will they expand the program? There’s a slim chance of this. The improvement in employment and inflation aren’t impressing King. We’ll get an updated view in the MPC Rate Statement.
  8. PPI: Published on Friday at 9:30 GMT. One wild month of rises was quickly forgotten when producer prices went back to normal in the two months that followed – both saw a 0.1% rise in prices. This time, another modest rise is expected – 0.4% in the important PPI Input and 0.3% in the less important PPI Output.

GBP/USD Technical Analysis

Throughout most of the week, GBP/USD was ranging between (and around) 1.6110 and 1.6260. These lines were seen in last week’s outlook. And on Friday, this line was broken and GBP/USD dropped sharply to close below 1.60.

Looking down, I’ve added another minor resistance line at 1.5833. This was the bottom near the end of 2009.

A much more important line appears at 1.5720 – a major support line that was tested several times and not breached since May 2009. The Pound began a comeback from this line, and now it’s becoming closer again.

Even lower, 1.5350 served as a resistance line twice in the past, and is now an important support line.

Looking up, 1.6110 turns into the immediate resistance line. 1.6270 follows, and the next peak is 1.6450. There are more significant resistance lines up there, but they’re too far now.

My sentiment is neutral on the GBP/USD.

The weak growth figure was disappointing, but Britain has seen many good figures, such as employment to keep it above the strong support line, in a lower but steady range.

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