GBP/USD has posted slight losses in the Tuesday session. In the North American session, GBP/USD is trading at 1.3030. In economic news, British CPI was unexpectedly soft, posting a gain of 2.6%. This missed the estimate of 2.9%. In the US, there are no major events on the schedule. On Wednesday, the focus will be on construction numbers, with the release of Building Permits and Housing Starts.
British CPI surprised the markets, as the gain of 2.6% in June was lower than the 2.9% reading a month earlier. This was the first time this year that inflation levels have not increase from the previous reading. The soft data eases the pressure on the BoE to raise rates in order to curb high inflation levels. Policymakers at the BoE have been at odds over raising rates – even though inflation is high, the economy has been showing signs of weakness, raising concerns that the economy does not need higher interest rates.
Britain and European Union negotiators met in Brussels on Monday, marking the start of substantive negotiations on Britain’s exit from the EU. After weeks of “discussions about what to discuss”, the UK agreed to the European demand that the negotiations would focus on the rights of EU citizens in the UK and Britain’s bill for leaving the EU, before entering talks on a new trade agreement. Britain has presented its position on guaranteed rights for EU citizens living in the UK, but EU negotiators have said that this offer doesn’t go far enough. The EU has handed Britain an exit bill of EUR 69 billion, and although the May government has agreed that it owes funds to Brussels, it certainly will counter with a much lower figure. With significant gaps between the parties on both of these issues, the negotiations promise to be difficult. Another complication is internal dissent within the May government, with senior officials at odds over a ‘transition period’ for Britain after leaving Brexit. Finance Minister Philip Hammond has suggested a transition period of two years, but Brexit Secretary David Davis has said he wants the UK completely out of the single market when Brexit negotiations terminate in March 2019.
President Trump suffered a major setback this week after Trump’s proposed health bill which replaces much of Obamacare, has stalled in the Senate, after two Republicans announced they would not support the bill. The Republican leadership has admitted defeat, saying it will not attempt to advance the health care proposal before Congress takes a recess in August. This decision is a blow for Trump, who had made a new health care act a key part of his agenda. With this latest defeat, there is growing skepticism as to whether Trump will be able to convince Congress to pass other key parts of his agenda – tax reform and fiscal spending. The Republicans also have egg on their faces, as they have been unable to pass any significant legislation since Trump took over, despite having control of both houses of Congress and the White House.
Inflation levels in the US have been stubbornly low, despite a generally strong economy and a tight labor market. Still, the Federal Reserve remains convinced that it’s only a matter of time before inflation levels move higher. This stance was reiterated by Fed Chair Janet Yellen last week, as she testified before congressional and senate committees. With the labor market close to capacity and the unemployment rate at just 4.4%, economists are puzzled why this hasn’t translated into higher inflation. In her testimony, Yellen admitted that the Fed was at a loss to explain the lack of inflation, but insisted that it was “premature to conclude that the underlying inflation trend is falling well short of 2 percent”, and that with a strong labor market “the conditions are in place for inflation to move up”. Is Yellen’s argument just wishful thinking? The markets aren’t buying in, with a rate hike considered extremely unlikely in September. As for a December increase, the odds are currently at just 47%, according to the CME Group. Consumer spending and inflation numbers were soft in June, and the disappointing numbers will do little to improve market skepticism about one last rate hike this year.
Tuesday (July 18)
- 4:30 British CPI. Estimate 2.9%. Actual 2.6%
- 4:30 British PPI Input. Estimate -0.8%. Actual -0.4%
- 4:30 British RPI. Estimate 3.6%. Actual 3.5%
- 4:30 British Core CPI. Estimate 2.6%. Actual 2.4%
- 4:30 British HPI. Estimate 3.0%. Actual 4.7%
- 4:30 British PPI Output. Estimate 0.1%. Actual 0.0%
- 8:30 US Import Prices. Estimate -0.2%. Actual -0.2%
- 9:30 BoE Governor Mark Carney Speaks
- 10:00 US NAHB Housing Market Index. Estimate 67. Actual 64
- 16:00 US TIC Long-Term Purchases. Estimate 20.3B
Wednesday (July 19)
- 8:30 US Building Permits. Estimate 1.20M
- 8:30 US Housing Starts. Estimate 1.16M
*All release times are EDT
*Key events are in bold
GBP/USD for Tuesday, July 18, 2017
GBP/USD July 18 at 11:55 EDT
Open: 1.3051 High: 1.3126 Low: 1.3004 Close: 1.3027
- GBP/USD posted slight gains in the Asian session. In European trade, the pair recorded slight gains but then reversed directions and posted considerable losses. The pair is showing limited movement in North American trade
- 1.2946 is providing support
- 1.3058 was tested earlier in resistance and is a weak line
Further levels in both directions:
- Below: 1.2946, 1.2865 and 1.2706
- Above: 1.3058, 1.3121, 1.3238 and 1.3347
- Current range: 1.2946 to 1.3058
OANDA’s Open Positions Ratio
GBP/USD ratio is showing movement towards long positions. Currently, short positions have a majority (55%), indicative of trader bias towards GBP/USD continuing to move lower.