The British pound has inched lower in the Wednesday session. In North American trade, GBP/USD is trading at 1.3951, down 0.08% on the day. On the release front, there are no British releases on the schedule. In the US, consumer spending was a disappointment, as Retail Sales declined 0.1%, missing the estimate of 0.3%. On the inflation front, PPI dipped to 0.2%, but still beat the estimate of 0.1%. On Thursday, the US will publish employment claims and the Philly Fed Manufacturing Index.
British finance minister Philip Hammond delivered the annual budget in parliament on Tuesday. There may not have been any surprises in the budget, but the economic forecasts were not particularly upbeat. According to the Office of Budget Responsibility, the country’s economic growth is expected to be weak – 1.5 percent in 2018, and just 1.3 percent in 2019 and 2020. The OECD didn’t make things any better for the government, when it said on Tuesday that Britain’s economy would grow more slowly than all the Group of 20 members in 2018. The economy has slowed since the Brexit vote in June 2016, taking the British pound down as well. With London and Brussels at odds over the relationship between the sides after Brexit takes effect in March 2019, the pound could be facing strong headwinds during the year.
The Federal Reserve is widely expected to raise interest rates next week. According to the CME Group, the odds of a quarter-point raise stand at 89 percent. What can we expect from the Fed during the year? The pressing question is how many rate hikes will we see in 2018. The current Fed projection remains at three hikes, but the superb nonfarm payrolls report last week has raised speculation that the Fed could accelerate the pace to four hikes, which would be good news for the US dollar. Investors will be keeping a close eye on key US data, especially inflation indicators. If these numbers improve, we’re likely to see four rate hikes in 2018.
Wednesday (March 14)
- 8:30 US Core Retail Sales. Estimate 0.4%. Actual 0.2%
- 8:30 US PPI. Estimate 0.1%. Actual 0.2%
- 8:30 US Retail Sales. Estimate 0.3%. Actual -0.1%
- 8:30 US Core PPI. Estimate 0.2%. Actual 0.2%
- 10:00 US Business Inventories. Estimate 0.6%. Actual 0.6%
- 10:30 US Crude Oil Inventories. Estimate 2.2M. Actual 5.0M
Thursday (March 15)
- 8:30 US Empire State Manufacturing Index. Estimate 15.2
- 8:30 US Philly Fed Manufacturing Index. Estimate 23.2
- 8:30 US Unemployment Claims. Estimate 230K
*All release times are GMT
*Key events are in bold
GBP/USD for Wednesday, March 14, 2018
GBP/USD March 14 at 12:25 EDT
Open: 1.3962 High: 1.3996 Low: 1.3926 Close: 1.3951
GBP/USD posted slight gains in the Asian but gave away these gains in the European session. The pair has posted slight losses in North American trade
- 1.3901 is providing support
- 1.4010 is the next resistance line
- Current range: 1.3901 to 1.4010
Further levels in both directions:
- Below: 1.3901, 1.3809, 1.3744, 1.3613
- Above: 1.4010 and 1.4128 and 1.4227
OANDA’s Open Positions Ratio
GBP/USD ratio is showing little movement this week. Currently, short positions have a small majority (51%), indicative of a lack of bias towards the direction of the pair.