GBP/USD saw some downside pressure around the middle of the week but momentum in the decline has slowed as buyers have held the pair above important support.
The bigger development for the UK this week has been in the equity markets rather than the exchange rate. The UK FTSE declined to fresh lows now seen since the summer of 2016 earlier today and is down more than 11% this week. The equity index is weighed by a global shift to risk aversion after it became apparent earlier in the week that the Coronavirus has started to spread at a more rapid pace outside of China.
In the currency markets, more meaningful moves are seen in commodity currencies and safe-haven currencies. The former tend to sell-off when investors turn risk-averse while the latter typically gain.
The dollar has been under pressure which seems to have limited the decline GBP/USD this week. Investors have become increasingly certain that the Federal Reserve will deliver a rate cut to combat the negative impacts the Coronavirus will have on the US economy. The CME FedWatch Tool, which tracks pricing in the Fed Fund Futures markets to determine market probabilities of interest rate changes, shows a rate cut is fully priced in for next month’s Fed meeting. The data further shows a one in five chance of the Fed delivering a 50 basis point cut rather than the typical 25 basis points.
The UK will start official trade negotiations with the EU next week which could lead to an increase in volatility in the exchange rate. The pound to dollar currency pair trades at an important technical inflection point and the direction from here will likely be driven by developments in trade negotiations.
Support at 1.2859 has held the exchange rate higher on two attempts now since yesterday. Beyond the level, there is further support near 1.2820 which stems from the lower bound of a declining trend channel.
GBP/USD appears to be on the verge of a breakdown as it continues to hold below a major horizontal level at 1.2961. Further, the pair has also been holding below its 200-week moving average since dropping below it in the early month. The technical outlook suggests the pair is reversing trend from the bullish run that began in September.
Over the near-term, resistance is seen at 1.2924 followed by 1.2961.
A weaker dollar is helping to keep Sterling supported. In this context, any communication from the Fed regarding a potential upcoming rate cut will be important in addition to developments in EU trade negotiations.
- GBP/USD bulls are holding the pair above technical support at 1.2859 which continues to be a hurdle for bears over the near-term.
- Volatility is likely to increase next week once trade negotiations with the EU commence.