The Pound Sterling (GBP) faces a correction after the United Kingdom Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported mixed factory data for November. Monthly growth in the manufacturing sector was slightly higher while annual data failed to match expectations. Overall economic data was slightly better than expectations but seems incapable of taming fears of a technical recession happening in the UK economy.
Going forward, the Pound Sterling will be guided by the labor market and inflation data, which are due to be released next week. Cooling labor market conditions and a further decline in price pressures will deepen hopes of a dovish interest rate outlook from the Bank of England (BoE) in its first monetary policy announcement of 2024 on February 01.
Meanwhile, near-term demand for the Pound Sterling is upbeat due to improved market sentiment. The GBP/USD pair remains in the bullish trajectory as chances of an interest rate cut from the Federal Reserve (Fed) remain firm despite a sticky United States Consumer Price Index (CPI) report for December.
Pound Sterling faces pressure from two-week high around 1.2790 after the release of UK factory data. The broader appeal for the GBP/USD pair is upbeat as 20 and 50-day Exponential Moving Averages (EMAs) are sloping higher. The Cable aims to sustain above the 61.8% Fibonacci retracement at 1.2710 (of the move from 13 July 2023 high at 1.3142 to 4 October 2023 low at 1.2037).
The 14-period Relative Strength Index (RSI) attempts to break above 60.00. A bullish momentum would trigger if the RSI (14) manages to do so.
The Pound Sterling (GBP) is the oldest currency in the world (886 AD) and the official currency of the United Kingdom. It is the fourth most traded unit for foreign exchange (FX) in the world, accounting for 12% of all transactions, averaging $630 billion a day, according to 2022 data.
Its key trading pairs are GBP/USD, aka ‘Cable’, which accounts for 11% of FX, GBP/JPY, or the ‘Dragon’ as it is known by traders (3%), and EUR/GBP (2%). The Pound Sterling is issued by the Bank of England (BoE).
The single most important factor influencing the value of the Pound Sterling is monetary policy decided by the Bank of England. The BoE bases its decisions on whether it has achieved its primary goal of “price stability” – a steady inflation rate of around 2%. Its primary tool for achieving this is the adjustment of interest rates.
When inflation is too high, the BoE will try to rein it in by raising interest rates, making it more expensive for people and businesses to access credit. This is generally positive for GBP, as higher interest rates make the UK a more attractive place for global investors to park their money.
When inflation falls too low it is a sign economic growth is slowing. In this scenario, the BoE will consider lowering interest rates to cheapen credit so businesses will borrow more to invest in growth-generating projects.
Data releases gauge the health of the economy and can impact the value of the Pound Sterling. Indicators such as GDP, Manufacturing and Services PMIs, and employment can all influence the direction of the GBP.
A strong economy is good for Sterling. Not only does it attract more foreign investment but it may encourage the BoE to put up interest rates, which will directly strengthen GBP. Otherwise, if economic data is weak, the Pound Sterling is likely to fall.
Another significant data release for the Pound Sterling is the Trade Balance. This indicator measures the difference between what a country earns from its exports and what it spends on imports over a given period.
If a country produces highly sought-after exports, its currency will benefit purely from the extra demand created from foreign buyers seeking to purchase these goods. Therefore, a positive net Trade Balance strengthens a currency and vice versa for a negative balance.