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A very busy week awaits the British Pound, with the rate decision being the highlight. Will Mervyn King tackle inflation? Here’s an outlook for the events that will rock the Pound, and an updated technical analysis for GBP/USD.

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

British Pound Forecast

The Pound enjoyed the failure of the Prudential -AIG Asia deal. This deal would have sent billions of pounds overseas, and its failure strengthened the Pound. That wasn’t enough to hold the Pound after Friday’s Non-Farm Payrolls though. Let’s see the British events:

  1. BRC Retail Sales Monitor: Published on Monday at 23:00 GMT (midnight UK). This figure is a great indicator for the official retail sales release. The British Retail Consortium showed a drop of 2.3% in the retailers that belong to its organization. This came after two months of neat rises. Another drop is predicted this time.
  2. Nationwide Consumer Confidence: Published on Tuesday at 23:00 GMT. This survey of 1,000 consumers is a highly regarded barometer for the mood of consumers and of MPC members that meet later in the week. After steadily climbing to 81, this indicator dropped and now stands on 74 points. This is the first survey for the new government and also the first one after the escalation of the European troubles. Economists expected a rise to 78 points, but given the worries, a drop under 70 won’t be very surprising.
  3. Trade Balance: Published on Wednesday at 8:30 GMT. After making a surprise drop two months ago and boosting the British Pound, the trade deficit jumped once again to 7.5 billion pounds, weakening the currency. It’s expected to squeeze down to 7 billion this time.
  4. Rate decision: Published on Thursday at 11:00 GMT. The BoE is trapped between the desire to stimulate the economy by leaving the interest rate unchanged, and by the rising inflation. Mervyn King dismissed the rising inflation and said it’s only oil prices, but the new Prime Minister, David Cameron, doesn’t buy this, and made it clear that he wants the issue to be tackled. The consensus is for an unchanged Official Bank Rate – at 0.5%. If there isn’t a rate hike, traders will watch the MPC Rate Statement – if they express worries about inflation, the Pound will rise. If they focus on economic troubles, it will weaken.
  5. Manufacturing Production: Published on Friday at 8:30 GMT. This major indicator always rocks the Pound. Last month’s release was a big surprise – output grew by 2.3%, far better than expected.The forecast for this release is more modest – 0.6% growth. Note that manufacturing is part of the overall industrial production, which is predicted to rise by 0.5% after a 2% rise last time. Manufacturing is more closely watched.
  6. PPI: Published on Friday at 8:30 GMT. Following a leap of 3.8% in producer prices two months ago (3.8%), prices grew by only 0.6% last month, and they;re expected to drop by 0.1% this time, showing that inflation is still under control, at least with the PPI Input figure. The complementary number, PPI Output, is expected to rise by 0.6% after rising by 1.4% last time.
  7. NIESR GDP Estimate: Published on Friday at 14:00 GMT. Last but not least, the NIESR institute usually provides accurate estimations about the GDP, and they release it on a monthly basis. ast month’s figure was positive – it showed a growth rate of 0.5% in the three months ending in April. A weaker growth rate is expected now, when May is added and  February  omitted from the calculation.

GBP/USD Technical Analysis

After some range trading between 1.44 and 1.4610, the Pound made a breakout and reached 1.4770, just 10 pips below the 1.4780 resistance line. Friday’s mess sent the pair back down to 1.4450.

Note that many lines have changed since last week’s outlook. The pair is bound by 1.44 and 1.4610 once again. Both lines aren’t very strong.

Looking down below 1.44, the next line is the year-to-date low of 1.4230. This was also a line of support last year. Below, 1.4130 was a swing low and now provides minor support.

Even lower, 1.38 is a strong line, working as a support line at the beginning of 2009. It’s followed by 1.3660, and by the ultimate multi-decade support line of 1.35.

Looking up above 11.4610, strong resistance is found at 1.4780. This is the line that the Pound collapsed to a few months ago, and it was tested successfully just this week.

A break above this line will send the pair to 1.5065, followed by 1.5130, which was a strong support line. There are more resistance lines higher above, but they are too far now.

I am neutral on the GBP/USD.

On one hand, the British economy is still growing slowly and it suffers from the debt issues in continental Europe. But on the other hand, rising inflation can trigger a rate hike, that will probably come sooner than later.

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