GBP/USD – Pound Soars as Theresa May Calls Surprise Election

GBP/USD has jumped on Tuesday, gaining close to 200 points. In North American trade, GBP/USD is trading at 1.2740. The pound has climbed after Prime Minister Theresa May surprised the markets by calling an election for June 8. On the economic front, US construction numbers were mixed. Building Permits improved to 1.26 million, edging above the forecast of 1.25 million. Housing Starts dropped to 1.22 million, shy of the forecast of 1.25 million.

The pound started the week quietly, as British markets were closed for Easter Monday. However, the currency has jumped to an 18-week high on Tuesday, after Prime Minister May announced that the country would go to the polls. Why did May decide to seek a fresh mandate now? One reason is that she is enjoying a huge lead in the polls, and could improve on her thin majority in parliament. As well, her government has run into difficulties with the opposition and the House of Lords over Brexit, and hopes that the election results will strengthen her hand as she prepares for the unenviable task of negotiating Britain’s departure from the European Union. In announcing the snap election, May said she was reluctant to call an election (some three years ahead of schedule), but that the country needed stability and certainty ahead of the difficult negotiations with Europe.

U.K Snap Election Pound Positive, more to follow

In the US, consumer indicators wrapped up last week on a sour note. CPI declined 0.3%, and Core CPI dropped 0.1%, as both indicators missed their estimates. Consumer spending was no better, as Retail Sales and Core Retail Sales also missed estimates with readings of 0.2% and 0.0%, respectively. Earlier in the week, UoM Consumer Sentiment improved to 98.0, beating expectations and hitting a 3-month high.What is unusual is this data is that consumer confidence levels improved in March, yet consumer spending declined. The US consumer behavior continues to be marked by a “hard/soft discrepancy”, as confidence levels (“soft data”), has not translated into actual spending numbers (“hard data”). The odds of a June rate hike from the Fed has fallen to 46%, down from 64% earlier in April. Janet Yellen & C0. will likely want to see stronger inflation numbers before pressing the rate trigger.

GBP/USD Fundamentals

Tuesday (April 18)

  • 6:05 British Prime Minister Theresa May Speaks
  • 8:30 US Building Permits. Estimate 1.25M. Actual 1.26M
  • 8:30 US Housing Starts. Estimate 1.25M. Actual 1.22M
  • 9:15 US Capacity Utilization Rate. Estimate 76.3%. Actual 76.1%
  • 9:15 US Industrial Production. Estimate 0.5%. Actual 0.5%

*All release times are GMT

*Key events are in bold

GBP/USD for Tuesday, April 18, 2017

GBP/USD April 18 at 10:00 EST

Open: 1.2556 High: 1.2747 Low: 1.2512 Close: 1.2743

GBP/USD Technical

S1 S2 S1 R1 R2 R3
1.2471 1.2571 1.2706 1.2865 1.2946 1.3058
  • GBP/USD has broken through two resistance lines following sharp gains on Tuesday. The pair posted strong gains in the European session and continues to move upwards in North American trade
  • 1.2706 is a weak support level
  • 1.2865 is the next resistance line

Further levels in both directions:

  • Below: 1.2706, 1.2571 and 1.2471
  • Above: 1.2865, 1.2946 and 1.3058
  • Current range: 1.2706 to 1.2865

OANDA’s Open Positions Ratio

GBP/USD ratio is showing short positions with a majority (60%). This is indicative of trader bias towards GBP/USD reversing directions and moving lower.

This article is for general information purposes only. It is not investment advice or a solution to buy or sell securities. Opinions are the authors; not necessarily that of OANDA Corporation or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers or directors. Leveraged trading is high risk and not suitable for all. You could lose all of your deposited funds.

Kenny Fisher

Kenny Fisher

Currency Analyst at Market Pulse
Kenny Fisher joined OANDA in 2012 as a Currency Analyst. Kenny writes a daily column about current economic and political developments affecting the major currency pairs, with a focus on fundamental analysis. Kenny began his career in forex at Bendix Foreign Exchange in Toronto, where he worked as a Corporate Account Manager for over seven years.