GBP/USD – Pound Soars on UK Election Announcement

GBP/USD has ticked lower on Wednesday, after posting sharp gains in the Tuesday session. In North American trade, GBP/USD is trading just above the 1.28 line. There are no British events on the schedule. In the US, there were no major releases. Crude Oil Inventories posted a drawdown of 1.0 million barrels, matching the forecast. On Thursday, the US releases the Philly Fed Manufacturing Index and unemployment claims. As well, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will delver remarks in Washington. The markets will also be following BoE Governor Mark Carney, who will speak at two events in Washington.

The pound enjoyed a banner day on Tuesday, as GBP/USD soared 2.3 percent. The pair briefly climbed above the 1.29 line, its highest level since October 2016. The sharp gain was in reaction to Prime Minister May’s surprise announcement of a snap national election on June 8. May had previously said that she would not call early elections, and the current government’s term runs until 2020. Why did May seek a fresh mandate now? One reason is that she is enjoying a huge lead in the polls, and could well 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 is hoping that a solid mandate will strengthen her hand as she prepares for the difficult task of negotiating Britain’s departure from the European Union. In announcing the snap election, May said that the country needed stability and certainty ahead of the difficult negotiations with Europe.

U.K Snap Election Pound Positive, more to follow

What’s next for the Federal Reserve? Based on not-so-subtle hints from the Fed, the markets are expecting two more rate hikes in 2017. There have been calls from some Fed policymakers to raise rates three more times, but this seems unlikely, given disappointing retail sales and CPI numbers in March. These weak numbers are likely to make the Fed more dovish about the US economy, and have prompted the Atlanta and New York Federal Reserve banks to lower their outlook for US economic growth for the first quarter of 2017. The Fed can point to a labor market that is close to capacity as well as strong consumer confidence, but this has not translated into stronger consumer spending, a key driver of economic growth. The likelihood of a rate hike in June are are currently priced at 45%, according to the CME Group. The odds were as high as 65% just a few weeks ago, indicative of growing doubts that the Fed will make a move at the June policy meeting.

GBP/USD Fundamentals

Wednesday (April 19)

  • 10:30 US Crude Oil Inventories. Estimate -1.0M. Actual -1.0M
  • 14:00 US Beige Book

Thursday (April 20)

  • 8:30 US Philly Fed Manufacturing Index. Estimate 25.6
  • 8:30 US Unemployment Claims. Estimate 241K
  • 11:30 BoE Governor Mark Carney Speech
  • 11:30 BoE Governor Mark Carney Speech
  • 13:15 US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Speech

*All release times are GMT

*Key events are in bold

GBP/USD for Wednesday, April 19, 2017

GBP/USD April 19 at 11:30 EST

Open: 1.2843 High: 1.2859 Low: 1.2501 Close: 1.2820

GBP/USD Technical

S1 S2 S1 R1 R2 R3
1.2471 1.2571 1.2706 1.2865 1.2946 1.3058
  • GBP/USD was flat in Asian and European sessions. The pair has edged lower in the North American session
  • 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 unchanged in the Wednesday session. Currently, short positions have a majority (60%). This is indicative of trader bias towards GBP/USD continuing to move 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.