GBP/USD – Pound Pushes Higher as US Factory Orders Tumble

The British pound has posted considerable gains in the Tuesday session. In North American trade, GBP/USD is trading at 1.3027, up 0.76% on the day. On the release front, British Services PMI eased to 53.2, short of the estimate of 53.5 points. US Factory Orders in July declined 3.3%, matching the estimate. Still, the tumble marked the sharpest decline since August 2014. Federal Reserve member Lael Brainard spoke earlier in the day, and two other FOMC members, Neel Kashkari and Neel Kashkari, will be delivering remarks later in the day. On Wednesday, the US releases ISM Non-Manufacturing PMI, with an estimate of 55.5 points.

Last week’s disappointing US employment numbers wasn’t lost on the Federal Reserve, and FOMC member Leal Brainard sounded pessimistic on Tuesday. Brainard noted that inflation remained “well short” of the Fed’s target of 2%, and counseled caution before raising interest rates until inflation is on its way upwards. Brainard acknowledged the rebound in the US economy, saying that the economy was on “solid footing”. A December rate hike remains very much in doubt, with odds of an increase at just 30%. With the likelihood of a rate hike pegged at less than 2% at next week’s policy meeting, the markets will be focusing on the Fed’s balance sheet, which stands at $4.2 trillion. Earlier in the year, the Fed outlined plans to reduce the balance sheet, and analysts expect further details at the September meeting.

Geopolitical tensions often move the currency markets, so the crisis in North Korea is being carefully monitored. On Monday, North Korea’s announcement that it had exploded a hydrogen bomb which could be fitted to an intercontinental ballistic missile. Although the claim has yet to be verified by Western analysts, it is clear that this nuclear device test has ratcheted tensions between North Korea and the US, Japan and South Korea. The International Atomic Energy Authority responded by labeling North Korea as a ‘global threat’, and US President Trump announced on Tuesday that he would increase weapon sales to Japan and South Korea. As tensions between Washington and Pyongyang have increased, the drop in risk appetite is driving investors away from the US dollar in favor of safe-haven assets such as the Japanese yen and gold. If the crisis in the Korean peninsula continues, the US dollar could lose ground against the pound and other major currencies as nervous investors look for alternatives to the greenback.

 

GBP/USD Fundamentals

Monday (September 4)

  • 19:01 British BRC Retail Sales Monitor. Actual 1.3%

Tuesday (September 5)

  • 4:30 British Services PMI. Estimate 53.5. Actual 53.2
  • 8:00 US FOMC Member Lael Brainard Speaks
  • 10:00 US Factory Orders. Estimate -3.3%. Actual -3.3%
  • 10:00 US IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism. Estimate 53.1 
  • 13:10 US FMOC Neel Kashkari Speaks
  • 18:05 US FMOC Member Robert Kaplan Speaks

Wednesday (September 6)

  • 10:00 US ISM Non-Manufacturing PMI. Estimate 55.5

*All release times are GMT

*Key events are in bold

GBP/USD for Tuesday, September 5, 2017

GBP/USD September 5 at 12:15 EDT

Open: 1.2928 High: 1.3032 Low: 1.2909 Close: 1.3027

 

GBP/USD Technical

S1 S2 S1 R1 R2 R3
1.2767 1.2865 1.2946 1.3058 1.3159 1.3267
  • GBP/USD was flat in the Asian session. The pair posted gains in European trade and continues to move higher in the North American session
  • 1.2946 was tested earlier in support and is a weak line
  • 1.3058 is the next resistance line

Further levels in both directions:

  • Below: 1.2946, 1.2865, 1.2767, 1.2639
  • Above: 1.3058, 1.3159 and 1.3267
  • Current range: 1.2946 to 1.3058

OANDA’s Open Positions Ratio

GBP/USD ratio is unchanged this week. Currently, long positions have a slender majority (52%), indicative of slight trader bias towards GBP/USD continuing to move upwards.

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.