GBP/USD Supported After 1+ Year Low & Ahead of Fed BoE

  • GBPUSD
    (${instrument.percentChange}%)

Fed and BoE

The central banks of the United Sates and the United Kingdom, both hand down their monetary policy decisions this week – on Wednesday and Thursday respectively.

The Federal Reserve is gearing up for a rate hike, which if delivered, will be the first since 2018. There has been some debate around the size of the move, with some officials open to a larger 50 basis point increase, but Chair Powell announced this month his inclination to "propose in support of 25 basis point rate hike". [1]

The central bank has already started tightening its ultra-lose monetary policy with a very swift tapering procedure of the asset purchases program, with surging inflation driving its actions.

The most recent data that were released last week, showed that the Core Consumer Price Index (CPI) climbed 6.4% year-over-over-year in February and the headline reading increased 7.9% year-over-year – both figures being the highest since 1982.

The Bank of England (BOE) has also embarked on an aggressive tightening cycle for the same reasons, having already raised its interest rates two times. In the last meeting, it hiked them by 25 basis points (to 0.5%), but four of the nine members had voted a for a bigger 50 basis points [2], highlighting the hawkishness.

Markets now see the BoE delivering its third straight adjustment on Thursday, but we will have to wait and see, given the bank's recent communication problems and last month's split decision on the size of the hike.

Trade the News: View our Economic Calendar

UK's Consumer Price Index had surged to 5.5% year-over-year in January, while today's data revealed an increase in wage inflation as well, an area of concern for the central bank. In particular, average weekly earnings rose 4.8% 3m/y, from 4.3% prior.

Ukraine Complications

The military conflict between Ukraine and Russia, as well as the strict Western sanctions against the latter, have sent energy and commodity prices higher, further exacerbating inflation.

US President Biden announced last week an embargo on Russian oil, liquefied natural gas and coal, warning that there would be "costs" for the US as well, from this action. [3]

The United Kingdom refrained from an outright ban, announcing its intention to phase out the import of Russian oil during the course of the year. [4]

These factors put pressure on central banks to act more aggressively in order to contain high prices, but can also hamper economic activity, which could require the opposite action.

GBP/USD

The pair is having a very bad month and comes from three straight negative week's as the situation in Ukraine has dampened sentiments and as markets prepare for the Fed's lift-off.

This has sent GBP/USD to the lowest levels since November 2020, erasing nearly half of its advance from the 2020 lows to the 2021 highs. This has created heightened risk for a drop below 1.2980, but bears may not be ready for a larger decline that would threaten 1.2829 and the 50% Fibonacci of the aforementioned rise.

On the other hand, the British Pound catches a breath today and defends 1.3000, while the move is overextended from a purely technical prospective. This may give it the opportunity push back towards 1.3100, although a strong catalyst will be needed for a bigger recovery beyond 1.3164.

In any case, caution is needed since the pair's trajectory will likely be determined by this week's monetary policy decisions, which have the potential to spur volatility and cause outsized moves.

Nikos Tzabouras

Senior Market Specialist

Nikos Tzabouras is a graduate of the Department of International & European Economic Studies at the Athens University of Economics and Business. He has a long time presence at FXCM, as he joined the company in 2011. He has served from multiple positions, but specializes in financial market analysis and commentary.

With his educational background in international relations, he emphasizes not only on Technical Analysis but also in Fundamental Analysis and Geopolitics – which have been having increasing impact on financial markets. He has longtime experience in market analysis and as a host of educational trading courses via online and in-person sessions and conferences.

References

1

Retrieved 15 Mar 2022 https://financialservices.house.gov/live/

2

Retrieved 15 Mar 2022 https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/monetary-policy-summary-and-minutes/2022/february-2022

3

Retrieved 15 Mar 2022 https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2022/03/08/remarks-by-president-biden-announcing-u-s-ban-on-imports-of-russian-oil-liquefied-natural-gas-and-coal/

4

Retrieved 25 Jun 2022 https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-to-phase-out-russian-oil-imports

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