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The pound had a choppy week, that ended with some gains on the weak American Non-Farm Payrolls. The upcoming week is very busy for pound traders, with the rate decision and manufacturing production being the main events. Here’s an outlook for the British events and an updated technical analysis for GBP/USD.

Both services and construction sectors squeezed last month. On the other hand, there are growing signs that the BoE cannot ignore inflation for a long time, so a rate hike could boost it higher.

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

  1. Halifax HPI: Monday, 8:00. This housing price index is based on internal data from HBOS, making it very accurate in comparison with other surveys. According to HBOS, prices have stabilized last month, with a minor drop of 0.1%. A slightly bigger drop of 0.3% is predicted now.
  2. BRC Retail Sales Monitor: Tuesday, 00:00. This “mini-retail-sales” figure is considered a good indicator for the official figure released later. In recent months, growth has been stable, at around 0.7%. A similar number is expected now.
  3. Nationwide Consumer Confidence: Wednesday, 00:00. This survey of 1000 consumers disappointed in recent months and fell to 45 points, the lowest level since the beginning of 2009. A small recovery is predicted now, with the score rising to 51 points.
  4. Trade Balance: Wednesday, 9:30. Britain’s deficit has grown in recent months, and fell short of expectations. A small squeeze is predicted now, from 8.5 to 8.2 billion, but there have been too many disappointments here, so this may hurt the pound.
  5. Manufacturing Production: Thursday, 9:30. The British industry is doing better than the rest of the economy – we’ve seen that in PMIs last week. Manufacturing, which is 80% of the industry, is expected to grow by 0.5%, similar to last month’s 0.6% rise. Industrial production is likely to rise by 0.5% as well.
  6. Rate decision: Thursday, 12:00. The Bank of England is still split three ways. Sentance wants a rate hike to curb rising inflation, which refuses to fall below 3%, and also the governor, Mervyn King, show some concern. On the other hand, Posen wants more pound printing to aid the economy. In many recent releases, the members couldn’t agree on a statement. The Official Bank Rate is expected to remain unchanged at 0.50%, and no additional funds are expected to be allocated to the Asset Purchase Facility.
  7. NIESR GDP Estimate: Thursday, 15:00. The independent research center is usually accurate with predicting the GDP. This publication relates to the fourth quarter (the three months that just ended), so it will be very interesting to see their initial forecast.
  8. PPI: Friday, 9:30. Producer prices are also on the rise, but less alarming than consumer prices. PPI Input, the main figure, is expected to rise by 1.6% after 0.9% last month. A jump above 2% will be worrying. PPI Output is predicted to rise by 0.4%.

GBP/USD Technical Analysis

A very choppy week ended with the pound losing some ground. 1.5650, mentioned last week, proved to be a very strong line.

Looking down, 1.5520 is a minor line of support, after working as such at the beginning of 2010. 1.5480 is close by, after working in both directions. It’s also a minor line.

Very important support is found only at 1.5350, which was a stubborn line of support in December, August and also in February.

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

Lower, 1.4950 was a stepping stone for the pound on the way up. It’s just under the round number of 1.50. The last line for now is 1.4770, which dates back in the spring.

Looking up, the immediate resistance line is very strong – 1.5650. It capped the pair several times during December, and earlier worked as support.

Higher, 1.5720 and 1.5840 are minor lines, that both worked as support beforehand. More important resistance is found at 1.5910, which was the highest point since November.

The round number of 1.60 is even stronger. It was a peak back in August, and is closely eyed by many. Even higher, 1.6107, the swing high, is the next line of resistance after being a swing peak. The last line for now is 1.63, the highest level in a year.

I remain bearish on GBP/USD.

The weakness in the British economy is clearly seen, and we haven’t felt the austerity measures yet. Even if a rate hike comes sooner than later, the pound has more room to fall.

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