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After an upbeat week, the pound faces new information about the upcoming rate hike and also a worrying GDP among other events. Here’s an outlook for the British events and an updated technical analysis for GBP/USD.

Not all was good with the pound this week – BoE Governor Mervyn King had a bullish tone in the inflation letter, but then calmed things down with the inflation report. How is his MPC voting? We’ll know now. Let’s start:

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

GBP USD Chart February 21-25

  1. Nationwide HPI: Publication time unknown at the moment. This is one of the most fresh house price indices released in Britain. After one positive month, Nationwide reported more falls last month – 0.1%. A small rise is expected this time.
  2. Rightmove HPI: Monday, 00:00. Contrary to Nationwide, Rightmove’s index has shown a rise in prices last month – 0.3%, after two months of strong falls. Rightmove publishes its numbers early in the month and early in the week. Another small rise is expected this time.
  3. Public Sector Net Borrowing: Tuesday, 9:30. The coalition government in Britain has vowed to cut spending, and has imposed a severe austerity plan. Up to now, it still kept running high deficits. This time, there are high expectations that the net borrowing will be negative, meaning a surplus for the government. Such a surplus will aid the pound.
  4. MPC Meeting Minutes: Wednesday, 9:30. The last rate decision was considered very close. Inflation continues to rise, and the economic figures for January have shown an improvement, after a terrible Q4. So, the meeting minutes are likely to show that one more member joined Andrew Sentance and Martin Weale in favor of a rate hike. If indeed 3 out of 9 members favored a hike, this will boost the pound. If the score remains 7:2 in favor of leaving the rates unchanged, th pound will fall.
  5. BBA Mortgage Approvals: Wednesday, 9:30. Somewhat overshadowed by the meeting minutes, the British Bankers’ Association is expected to show a small rise in approvals – from 28.7 to 29K. BBA represents around two thirds of British mortgages.
  6. CBI Realized Sales: Thursday, 11:00. This gauge fell last month after two rises, although it remained positive, showing higher sales volume. It’s expected to drop once again, from 37 to 30 points, still in the positive zone.
  7. GfK Consumer Confidence: Friday, 00:00. Consumers in Britain have lost some of their confidence last month – the survey of 2300 consumers dropped to -19 points after steady improvements. It’s now expected to recover and rise to -27 points.
  8. Revised GDP: Friday, 9:30. The initial GDP report was a shocker. Expectations were for a rise of 0.5%, but the economy contracted by the same scale. This 0.5% drop was blamed on bad weather. The second release of GDP isn’t expected to be better.
  9. Business Investment: Friday, 9:30. After three quarters of growth, business investment is now expected to squeeze down by 0.4%. This important gauge of the economy always shakes the pound, due to its publishing frequency.

* All times are GMT

GBP/USD Technical Analysis

After the pound managed to settle above the 1.60 line (mentioned last week), it made a first attempt to rise. This attempt failed, but the second one was already more successful, and cable managed to close at 1.6245.

Looking up, significant resistance is found at 1.6280, which capped the pair earlier in the year, and was only temporarily breached in November. GBP/USD fell short of it just now.  Higher, an old peak at 1.6450 is the next line,

Even higher, important resistance is found at 1.67 which prevented further moves back in 2009. In the distance, 1.7040, the peak of 2009 is the last stronghold.

Looking down, 1.6110 is only minor support after being shattered now.  1.60 is still support, but it might be broken easily, as we’re just there. This round line was served as a peak back in August and dominated trading since then.

Below, 1.5910 is minor support on the way down.  Lower, 1.5820 is the next support line, after serving as such before the recent surge.

It’s followed by 1.5720, which is already a stronger line, that worked in recent months.  Further below,  we already reach a stronghold at 1.5650. This was the top border of wide range that GBP/USD traded in the past few months.

Even lower, 1.5480, which is a minor line.  The next line is important – 1.5350. It was the bottom border or the wide range.  It hasn’t been broken for a long time.

I am neutral on GBP/USD.

The rate policy is still unclear, although it will come earlier than expected. On the other hand, we’ll get a reminder of the horrible fourth quarter. Another interesting week is ahead of us, but a major breakthrough isn’t likely.

Further reading: