Pound Sterling falls as traders rollback Fed rate-cut bets

June 10, 2024 11:33 am

  • The Pound Sterling drops to 1.2700 as delayed Fed interest rate-cut prospects dampen market sentiment.
  • The strong US NFP report for May hit market speculation for Fed rate cuts.
  • This week, investors will focus on UK Employment, US CPI and the Fed’s policy decision.

The Pound Sterling (GBP) seems vulnerable against the US Dollar (USD) near the round-level support of 1.2700 in Monday’s London session. The GBP/USD pair weakens as the market sentiment turns downbeat after investors decreased their bets that leaned towards the Federal Reserve (Fed) to start reducing interest rates from the September meeting.

The CME FedWatch tool shows that 30-Day Fed Funds futures pricing data suggest a 47% chance that interest rate will be lower than the current level in September, significantly down from the 59.6% recorded a week ago.

Investors were hopeful that the Fed would commence lowering its key borrowing rates from September in the first four days of the last week. Their confidence was driven by weaker-than-expected United States (US) JOLTS Job Openings for April and ADP Employmnet Change data for May. However, robust labor demand and upbeat wage growth indicated by the US Nonfarm Payrolls (NFP) report for May published on Friday spooked their confidence. Strong labor market conditions suggest a stubborn inflation outlook, which would force Fed policymakers to prefer maintaining the current interest rate framework for a longer period.

Daily digest market movers: Pound Sterling struggles to gain ground ahead of key events

  • The Pound Sterling exhibits weakness against the US Dollar as market speculation about the Fed’s interest rate path suggests that there will be only one rate cut for the entire year, in the November or December meeting. Expectations for the number of Fed rate cuts have declined to one from two after the US NFP report remained stronger than expected. The US Dollar Index (DXY), which tracks the Greenback’s value against six major currencies, rises further to 105.30.
  • The next move in the US Dollar and the Pound Sterling will be guided by the US Consumer Price Index (CPI) data for May and the Fed’s monetary policy decision on Wednesday, and the United Kingdom (UK) Employment data for the February-April period on Tuesday.
  • US annual core inflation, which strips off volatile food and energy prices, is estimated to have decelerated to 3.5% from the prior release of 3.6%, with headline figures growing steadily by 3.4%. Monthly headline CPI is expected to have risen at a slower pace of 0.2% from April’s reading of 0.3%, with core inflation maintaining the current pace of 0.3%.
  • Meanwhile, the Fed is widely anticipated to hold interest rates steady in the range of 5.25%-5.50% for the seventh time in a row. In the press conference after the Fed’s policy decision, Fed Chair Jerome Powell may argue to keep interest rates higher until they get confidence that inflation will sustainably decline to the desired target rate of 2%.
  • According to the consensus, the UK Employmnet report will show that the Unemployment Rate remained steady at 4.3%. Investors will also focus on Average Earnings, a measure of wage inflation that dictates consumer spending and is estimated to have grown steadily compared to the previous period. Bank of England (BoE) policymakers will keenly focus on the wage inflation measure, as it is a major driver of service inflation that has remained a key barrier for price pressures to return to the desired rate of 2%.

Technical Analysis: Pound Sterling holds the 61.8% Fibonacci retracement support

The Pound Sterling hovers near 1.2700 against the US Dollar after falling sharply from the round-level resistance of 1.2800. The GBP/USD pair falls but still holds the 61.8% Fibonacci retracement support (plotted from the March 8 high of 1.2900 to the April 22 low at 1.2300) at 1.2665.

The Cable retraces to the 20-day Exponential Moving Average (EMA), which trades near 1.2710. The 50-day EMA is still sloping higher, suggesting that the overall trend remains bullish.

The 14-period Relative Strength Index (RSI) has shifted into the 40.00-60.00 range, suggesting that the upside momentum has faded. However, the bullish bias remains intact.

Pound Sterling FAQs

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.

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