GBP/USD – Pound Hits 7-Month High on Strong UK Retail Sales Data, Soft US Numbers

GBP/USD has posted slight gains on Thursday, continuing the upward trend we’ve seen for most of this week. In the North American session, the pair is trading just below the 1.29 line. Earlier, the pound touched a high of 1.2917, its highest level since early October. The pound received a boost from CBI Realized Sales, which climbed to 38 points, crushing the estimate of 6 points. In the US, key indicators were dismal. Core Durable Goods, Unemployment Claims, and Pending Home Sales all missed their estimates. On Friday, the UK releases Preliminary GDP, with an estimate of 0.4%. The US will publish Advance GDP, which is expected to gain 1.3%. We’ll also get a look at UoM Consumer Sentiment.

In the UK, there was good news on the consumer front, as retailers reported a sharp increase in sales volume. With Brexit constantly in the minds of the markets, consumer spending indicators are being closely monitored. The British economy has performed better than many analysts (and the BoE) expected, but the markets are understandably nervous about the impact that Brexit will have on the economy, given the fact that the EU is Britain’s largest trading partner. On Friday, the economy will get a report card in the form of Preliminary GDP, and traders should treat this event as a market-mover.

Talks over Britain’s departure from the EU are expected to be lengthy and difficult, and EU leaders don’t appear to be in a generous mood, as they met in Brussels this week to discuss a united front in the Brexit talks. Britain wants any deal to include financial services, but the Europeans are working on a draft that would exclude the financial sector unless it is governed by EU rules. There are also likely to be sharp disagreements over the size of Britain’s debt to the EU, among other major issues. For now, the British government is concentrating on the June election, but after that things could get nasty between the sides. If the Brexit talks run into trouble, market sentiment could take a dive and that could spell trouble for the British pound.

One of President Trump’s most important campaign platforms was overhauling the US tax code. Trump finally announced his long-awaited tax plan on Wednesday. The proposal calls for sharp reductions for both individuals and corporations. The plan calls for three tax brackets for individuals – 10%, 25% and 35%. The corporate sector would also see significant tax relief, with the corporate tax rate dropping from 35% to 15%, and the tax on multinationals’ overseas profits lowered from 35% to 10%. However, any tax reform proposals from the White House will require a stamp of approval from Congress, so Trump’s proposal should be viewed as a blueprint that is a long way off from becoming law. Trump’s proposal was short on details, although government officials are praising it as one of the largest tax cuts and broadest overhauls of the tax system in history. There hasn’t been much reaction from the currency markets, with the dollar showing limited movement against the pound and other major currencies in Thursday trading.

GBP/USD Fundamentals

Thursday (April 27)

  • 6:00 British CBI Realized Sales. Estimate 6. Actual 38
  • 8:30 US Core Durable Goods Orders. Estimate +0.4%. Actual -0.2%
  • 8:30 US Unemployment Claims. Estimate 241K. Actual 257K
  • 8:30 US Durable Goods Orders. Estimate 1.5%. Actual 0.7%
  • 8:30 US Goods Trade Balance. Estimate -65.2B. Actual -64.8B
  • 8:30 US Preliminary Wholesale Inventories. Estimate 0.3%. Actual -0.1%
  • 10:00 US Pending Home Sales. Estimate -0.6%. Actual -0.8%
  • 10:30 US Natural Gas Storage. Estimate 72B. Actual 74B

Friday (April 28)

  • 4:30 British Preliminary GDP. Estimate 0.4%
  • 8:30 US Advance GDP. Estimate 1.3%
  • 10:00 US Revised UoM Consumer Sentiment. Estimate 98.1

*All release times are GMT

*Key events are in bold

GBP/USD for Thursday, April 27, 2017

GBP/USD April 27 at 10:30 EST

Open: 1.2847 High: 1.2917 Low: 1.2840 Close: 1.2892

GBP/USD Technical

S1 S2 S1 R1 R2 R3
1.2571 1.2706 1.2865 1.2946 1.3058 1.3121
  • GBP/USD was flat in the Asian session. The pair edged lower in European trade but has posted gains in the North American session
  • 1.2865 is providing weak support
  • 1.2946 is the next resistance line

Further levels in both directions:

  • Below: 1.2865, 1.2706, 1.2571 and 1.2471
  • Above: 1.2946, 1.3058 and 1.3121
  • Current range: 1.2865 to 1.2946

OANDA’s Open Positions Ratio

GBP/USD ratio remains unchanged this week. Currently, short positions have a majority (57%). 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.