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GBP/USD traded in a narrow range this week, and closed the week at 1.5858. The upcoming week is very busy, with  14 releases. Here is an outlook of the upcoming events, and an updated technical analysis for GBP/USD.

US and UK releases were unspectacular this week, and the pair responded with choppy trading. The US economy continued to zigzag last week, as employment figures were below forecast, but factory orders looked sharp.

Updates: BRC Retail Sales Monitor disappointed, as the indicator  declined by 0.4%, its first drop since May. The pound dropped following a weak Construction PMI release. The key index posted a reading of 49.0 points, below the estimate of 50.1 points.  BRC Shop Price Index will be released later on Tuesday. The pound has fallen below the 1.59 line, as GBP/USD was trading at 1.5877. BRC Shop Price Index was up slightly, rising 1.1%. A 30-year Bond Auction is scheduled for later on Wednesday.GBP/USD is rangebound, and was trading at 1.5886. Halifax HPI surprised the markets with a very poor showing. The housing index declined 0.4%, while the market estimate stood at a 0.3% gain. The BOE did not make any surprise moves, maintaining QE at 375 billion pounds and its key interest rate at 0.50%. The pound has pushed above the 1.59 line, as GBP/USD was trading at 1.5910.

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

  1. Manufacturing PMI: Monday, 8:30.  This key release has been below the 50.0 line for three consecutive readings, and little change is expected in the September release.
  2. BRC Retail Sales Monitor: Monday, 23:01. The indicator posted a weak 0.1% gain in August. The markets will be hoping for a stronger increase this month.
  3. Halifax HPI: Tuesday, 4th-6th. The housing inflation index looked very weak last  month, declining by 0.6%. The markets are predicting an improvement in September, with a forecast of a 0.3% gain.
  4. Construction PMI: Tuesday, 8:30. Construction PMI has been above the 50.0 line through most of 2012. The forecast for September stands at 50.1 points.
  5. BRC Shop Price Index: Tuesday, 23:01. The index posted a 1.0% gain in August, and no change is expected in the September reading.
  6. Services PMI: Wednesday, 8:30. This key release has been around the 51.0 line for the past two releases, and the markets are expecting a similar reading in September.
  7. 30-year Bond Auction: Wednesday, Tentative. The last 30-year bond auction was held in May, at which time the yield dropped slightly to 3.22%. No major shift is expected in the September auction.
  8. Asset Purchase Facility: Thursday, 11:00. The BOE’s QE release is one of the most important releases and could affect the movement of GBP/USD. The markets are expecting the central bank to maintain the current level of 375 billion pounds.
  9. Official Bank Rate: Thursday, 11:00. The markets are expecting that the long-standing key rate of 0.50% will remain unchanged this month.
  10. Manufacturing Production: Friday, 8:30. This important indicator beat the market forecast last month, but still declined by 2.9%. The markets are expecting a strong rebound in September, with an estimate of a 2.1% gain.
  11. PPI Input: Friday, 8:30. This manufacturing indicator rebounded last month, with a strong 1.3% gain. The market estimate for this month stands at 1.6%.
  12. Consumer Inflation Expectations: Friday, 8:30. This indicator posted a 3.7% gain in August. The markets are not expecting any major change in September.
  13. NIESR GDP Estimate: Friday, 14:00. This monthly estimate of GDP has declined by 0.2% over the past two readings. Will the indicator climb into positive territory this month?
  14. MPC Member Spencer Dale Speaks: Saturday, 11:15. The BOE’s Chief Economist will be addressing a conference in Dublin. A speech that is more hawkish than forecast is bullish for the pound.

*All times are GMT

GBP/USD Technical Analysis

GBP/USD opened the week at 1.5800. The  pair touched a low of 1.5754, as the line of 1.5750 (discussed last week) held firm.  The pair then  touched just shy of  the 1.59 line, hitting a high of 1.5895. GBP/USD  closed at 1.5858.

Technical lines from top to bottom:

We  start our analysis with  resistance at 1.6247. The next line of resistance is 1.6122, which has not been tested since May. Next, there is 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. This line  looks to  be tested if the pound makes some inroads against the dollar.

The pair  continues  to receive weak support just above the 1.58 line, at 1.5805. This line saw more action last week as the pair showed some movement in both directions. The next line of support is 1.5750, which held firm as the pound lost some ground before retracing.

Next is 1.5648, which  is providing strong support.  This is followed by support at the round figure of 1.5600. Next, there is support at 1.5521, which saw a lot of action in June and July. Below, the pair is receiving support at 1.5415, which was last tested in mid-July. The next support level is at 1.5229. This final line for now is 1.5124, which has not been tested since July 2010.

I am neutral on GBP/USD.

A weak UK economy and continued uncertainty over the health of the US economy  could  result in  further choppiness in  GBP/USD trading.  Continuing speculation about QE could help the pound, although Fed chief Bernanke is keeping his intervention cards close to his sleeve.

Further reading: