British pound sinks on banking sector fears

The British pound has taken a nasty tumble on Wednesday. In the North American session, GBP/USD is trading at 1.202, down 1.1% on the day.

Credit Suisse drags down US banking sector, boosts US dollar

Since the collapse of the Silicon Valley Bank, the financial markets have been on a roller-coaster ride. Today the ride has been straight down, as equity markets are sharply lower. Credit Suisse, a major Swiss bank, saw its shares slump 25% today and fall to a record low, after Saudi National Bank, Credit Suisse’s largest investor, said it would not provide further funding.

This has put further pressure on the already reeling financial sector and sent the shares of US banks sharply lower today. The financial crisis has dampened risk appetite, which has boosted the safe-haven US dollar higher against all the majors except the Japanese yen, which is also a safe-haven asset.

Today’s US releases, led by retail sales, were a disappointment. The retail sales headline figure came in at -0.4% m/m, missing the estimate of -0.3% and well off the January reading of an upwardly revised 3.2%. The core rate slowed as expected to -0.1%, after an upwardly revised 2.4% gain in January. The Producer Price Index also slowed in February and the NY Empire State Manufacturing Index fell by -24.6, compared to -5.8 prior. The soft data has raised the likelihood of a Fed pause at the March 22 meeting, with the markets pricing the odds of a pause or a 25-bp hike at close to 50/50. Just a week, ago the markets were expecting the Fed to hike by 50 bp at next week’s meeting.

Inflation in the UK remains above 10%, which has taken a significant toll on households. Real household disposable income is expected to fall by some 5.7% over the next two years, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR). That would mark the biggest two-year drop since records began in 1956. The OBR had a surprisingly optimistic view on inflation, however, projecting that it would fall to just 2.9% by the end of the year.


GBP/USD Technical

  • GBP/USD has broken below support at 1.2113. The next support level is at 1.1984
  • There is resistance at 1.2294 and 1.2474

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

Market Analyst at OANDA
A highly experienced financial market analyst with a focus on fundamental analysis, Kenneth Fisher’s daily commentary covers a broad range of markets including forex, equities and commodities. His work has been published in several major online financial publications including, Seeking Alpha and FXStreet. Based in Israel, Kenny has been a MarketPulse contributor since 2012.