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The British pound  gained slightly over one cent against  US dollar, as GBP/USD  closed  just shy of the 1.57 mark, at 1.5698. The upcoming week  has  nine  releases. Here is an outlook for the upcoming events, and an updated technical analysis for GBP/USD.

The  pound  moved up sharply at the end of  last week,   following the surprise announcement at the EU Summit. At the Summit, the leaders announced  measures designed to combat the debt crisis and aid struggling EZ members, notably, allowing for the direct recapitalization of banks from Euro-zone rescue funds.

Updates: Manufacturing PMI was up, climbing to 48.8 points. The index beat the market estimate of 46.6 points. Construction PMI will be released on Tuesday. After Friday’s strong gains, the pound has edged downwards, as GBP/USD was trading at 1.5674. Construction PMI was a major disappointment, as the index pointed to a contraction in the construction sector, posting a reading of 48.2 points. This was the first  reading below the 50 point level since last January. Net Lending to Individuals was a bright spot, as the reading of 1.3 billion beat the  market estimate of 1.1B. Net Lending to Individuals declined  by 0.1%, well below the market forecast of  a 1.4%  gain. Mortgage  Approvals came in at 51 thousand, matching the market forecast. The pound briefly pushed above the 1.57 line, before retracing. GBP/USD was trading at 1.5689. The BRC Shop Price Index was up 1.1%, down from the 1.5% increase in the previous reading. Services PMI disappointed the markets, dropping to 51.3 points. The market estimate stood at 52.9 points. The BOE is expected to add 50 billion pounds in QE on Thursday. We could see some movement by GBP/USD if the BOE surprises the markets with a larger or smaller injection of funds.  Housing Equity Withdrawals, a quarterly released, dropped to its lowest figure  since November 2011. The indicator posted a reading of -8.8 billion, well below  the market forecast of -7.9B. The pound is down, as GBP/USD was trading at 1.5649. As expected, the BOE increased QE by some 50 billion, to a total of 375B. This is the first time that the central bank has adjusted QE since January, and the markets are hoping that the move helps lift the UK sluggish economy. The benchmark interest rate remained at 0.50%, which matched the market forecast. Overshadowed by the BOE monetary measures was the HPI release, which showed a respectable gain of 1%. This was well above the market forecast of -0.3%. After losing close to a cent on Wednesday, the pound has rebounded slightly following the QE announcement, crossing above the 1.56 line. GBP/USD was trading at 1.5603.

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

  1. Manufacturing PMI: Monday, 8:30. The index slipped below the 50 point level for the first time since January. This indicates contraction in the manufacturing sector. Little change is expected in the July release.
  2. Halifax HPI: July 3rd-6th. The markets are predicting a 0.4% decline  in house prices,  a further indication of weak activity in the housing sector.
  3. Construction PMI: Tuesday, 8:30. The construction sector continues to be one of the bright spots in the UK economy, as the index has been in the mid-50 points range throughout much of 2012. The market forecast calls for a slight drop in the July reading.
  4. Net Lending to Individuals: Tuesday, 8:30.  After two consecutive readings of 1.4 billion, the markets are predicting a significant drop to 1.1B.  A decline in credit issued  would indicate decreased economic activity , and would be bearish for the pound.
  5. BRC Shop Price Index: Tuesday, 23:01. This index precedes the official CPI data released by the government. The index climbed 1.5% in June, up slightly from May.
  6. Services PMI: Wednesday, 8:30. This key PMI has been around the 53 point level for the past two readings. Little change is expected in the July reading.
  7. Asset Purchase Facility: Thursday, 11:00. QE is  one of the BOE’s most  important monetary tools. QE has stood at 325 billion since March, but the markets are forecasting a large increase, up to 375B. If the market forecast is off the mark, look for the pound  to be affected.
  8. Official Bank Rate: Thursday, 11:00.  The benchmark interest rate has been pegged at 0.50%  for over three years.    No change is expected in the July rate decision.
  9. PPI Input:  Friday, 8:30. This manufacturing index had a very poor reading in June, falling by 2.5%. Another sharp decline is anticipated in July.

*All times are GMT

GBP/USD Technical Analysis

GBP/USD opened the week at 1.5582. The pair  dropped to a low of 1.5485, before retracing, as  the pound climbed up to  a high of 1.5714, as it  easily broke through resistance at 1.5648 (discussed last week). The pair  closed the week at 1.5698.

Technical levels from top to bottom

We start with resistance at the round figure of 1.62. Close by is the line of  1.6150, which has held firm since early May. This is followed by resistance 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  down slide.  Close by is 1.5750, which was tested last week, but held firm as the pound surged at the end the week.

Next, 1.5648 which has been alternating between support and resistance roles, is currently providing the pair with weak support. It could be tested if the dollar rebounds after last week’s losses.  Support can next be found at the round figure of 1.5600, which just last week was providing resistance to  the pair.

Next, there is support at  1.5521. This line has strengthened as the pair trades at higher levels. This is followed by support at 1.5415. Below, there is support at 1.5361, a line which has held firm since early June. Close by, there is support at 1.5309. This line has not been breached since September 2010. This is followed by support at 1.5229. The next support level is at 1.5124, which has not been tested since July 2010. The final support line for now is at 1.5054, which was last breached when the pair moved up sharply in June 2010.

I am  neutral on GBP/USD.

The  pair was fairly  quiet this week,  until the dramatic announcement out of  the EU  Summit.  The turmoil in the Euro-zone  will be  isn’t  going to disappear anytime soon, however, and the US is also showing weakness. We could see some further movement by GBP/USD following the QE announcement by the BOE this week.

Further reading: