GBP/USD Outlook September 10-14

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GBP/USD broke out and climbed sharply this week, pushing across the 1.60 line. The upcoming week has six releases, highlighted by Claimant Count Change. Here is an outlook of the upcoming events, and an updated technical analysis for GBP/USD.

UK releases looked sharp this week, highlighted by strong numbers in the manufacturing and services sectors. As well, the pound took full advantage of the weak US employment release to make further gains against the greenback.

Updates: RICS House Price Balance continued to post very weak numbers, with a -19% drop. This actually beat the forecast, which called for a -22% decline. Trade Balance improved sharply, as the deficit narrowed to -7.1 billion pounds. This easily beat the estimate of -8.9B. External BOE MPC Member Ian McCafferty spoke before the Treasury Select Committee in London. The pound has pushed upwards on the update Trade Balance release, as GBP/USD was trading at 1.6022. The Claimant Count Change was outstanding, as the number of unemployed persons dropped by 15.0 thousand. The markets had predicted a slight increase of 0.1K. The Unemployment Rate nudged upwards, climbing to 8.1% from the previous 8.0%. Average Earnings Index rose 1.5%, matching the market estimate. The CB Leading Index reversed a two-month downtrend and rose 0.1%. External BOE MPC Member Ben Broadbent delivered remarks in Durham. The pound pushed higher and broke the 1.61 line, but has since retracted. GBP/USD was trading at 1.6092. The BOE released its Quarterly Bulletin. In the report, the Bank said it did not foresee higher inflation and expects a loose monetary policy to continue. This sentiment was reflected in another low yield on 10-year bonds, at 1.83%. GBP/USD continues to test the 1.61 line, as the pair was trading at 1.6105. It finally happened: the Fed announced QE3 – open ended, $40 billion per month, in addition to more twist and a longer pledge for low rates through 2015. This pushed GBP/USD higher and 1.6250 is in sight.

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

  1. RICS House Price Balance: Monday, 23:01. This housing indicator has been very weak of late, with the past two releases declining by over 20%. Little change is expected in the September reading.
  2. Trade Balance: Tuesday, 8:30. The Trade Balance deficit widened to -10.1 billion pounds in August, a weaker reading than forecast. The markets are predicting that the deficit will narrow this month, to -8.9B.
  3. Claimant Count Change: Wednesday, 8:30. This key employment index looked sharp last month, posting a decline of -5.9 thousand unemployed persons. The markets are predicting a slight increase in September of 0.1K. The UK unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 8.0%.
  4. CB Leading Index: Wednesday, 9:00. This composite index has declined for two consecutive readings. The markets will be hoping for a reading closer to the 0.0% line for September.
  5. BOE Quarterly Bulletin: Wednesday, 23:01. This release by the BOE discusses economic conditions and monetary policy. A report that is more hawkish than anticipated is bullish for the pound.
  6. 10-year Bond Auction: Thursday, Tentative. Recent yields on 10-year bonds have been below 2%, and the market is expecting a similar result for the September Bond Auction.

*All times are GMT

GBP/USD Technical Analysis

GBP/USD opened the week at 1.5865 and  touched a low of 1.5850. The pair then rebounded to climb as high as 1.6034, as resistance at 1.6060 (discussed last week) held firm. GBP/USD closed at 1.6007.

Technical lines from top to bottom:

With last week’s surge by the pound, we begin at higher levels. There is resistance at 1.6475. This line has not been tested since August 2011. This is followed by the 1.6343 line. Next, there is resistance at 1.6247. This line was tested in late April, but has held firm since. The next line of resistance is 1.6122, which has not been tested since May. Next, there is resistance at 1.6060.

There is weak support at 1.5992. This line was providing resistance and protecting the important 1.60 level, but was breached this week as the pound flexed some muscle. It could be tested if the dollar rebounds. Next, 1.5930 is providing support, after being in a resistance role since May. The next support line is at 1.5805. This line has strengthened as the pair trades at higher levels. This is followed by 1.5750, which saw a lot of action in June and July.

Next is 1.5648, which continues to provide strong support. This is followed by support at the round figure of 1.5600. Below, there is support at 1.5521, which was last tested in August. The next line of support is at 1.5415. The final support level for now is 1.5348, which has held firm since June.

I am bullish on GBP/USD.

Stronger UK releases and poor employment data out of the US was the ideal recipe for the pound’s rally last week. Speculation over QE is increasing as the US economy continues to under-perform, and this could help the pound extend its gains against the greenback.

Further reading:

Get the 5 most predictable currency pairs

About Author

Kenny Fisher - Senior Writer A native of Toronto, Canada, Kenneth worked for seven years in the marketing and trading departments at Bendix, a foreign exchange company in Toronto. Kenneth is also a lawyer, and has extensive experience as an editor and writer.

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