The British pound is in calm waters early in the week, as GBP/USD trades slightly above the 1.23 line. There are no major releases out of the UK or the US, which means that the pound should enjoy a quiet day.
Can the BoE get it right?
The British pound plunged over 2% last Thursday, a most difficult feat, considering that the Bank of England actually raised interest rates at its meeting that day. What went so wrong for the pound?
The BoE dutifully raised rates at the meeting, but investors lasered in on the central bank’s downbeat message which warned of a recession, while at the same time forecasting that inflation will top 10% this year. The UK is experiencing soaring inflation at growth remains weak, which are the ingredients for stagflation. The Bank slashed its growth forecast from 1.25% to -0.25%, and the spectre of negative growth may have shaken up investors and sent the pound on its laurels. The rate hike, which in any event was relatively small at 0.25%, failed to impress the markets.
BoE Governor Bailey was brutally honest when he said after the meeting that “It is a very weak projection, a very sharp slowdown”. I always appreciate when central bankers don’t hide behind gobbledygook, but the markets tend to reward good news, not honest news. There appears to be a heavy dose of scepticism as to whether the BoE can get it right, as it navigates between raising rates in order to curb inflation, while at the same time not choking economic growth. BoE Governor Bailey will need to show some achievements, such as lower inflation, in order to re-establish the central bank’s credibility, which has taken a blow in recent months.
The pound has stabilized for the time being but remains vulnerable. There is plenty of risk aversion in the air, with spiralling inflation, a slowdown in China and the Ukraine war. With the Federal Reserve in hawkish mode and the US economy performing well, the risk towards GBP/USD is tilted to the downside.
- There is support at 1.2199 and 1.2056
- GBP/USD faces resistance at 1.2418 and 1.2561
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