- Pound Sterling shows signs of further breakdown ahead of August UK inflation data.
- UK headline inflation is seen accelerating due to rising energy prices.
- Uncertainty grows over PM Sunak fulfilling his promise of halving headline inflation to 5% by year-end.
The Pound Sterling (GBP) demonstrates caution at the start of this week as investors remain uncertain over the UK’s economic outlook. Expectations abound of one more interest rate increase from the Bank of England (BoE), a decision that will be announced on Thursday. The BoE is not in a position to pause the policy-tightening spell as inflationary pressure is stubborn and wage growth momentum is strong.
Before the BoE interest rate decision, investors will keenly watch the inflation data, which is scheduled for Wednesday. The headline Consumer Price Index (CPI) is expected to accelerate due to higher energy prices as global oil prices have rallied in the past four months. Core inflation is almost stable due to a higher labor cost index. Market participants seem uncertain whether UK PM Rishi Sunak will fulfill his promise of halving headline inflation to 5% by year-end. The promise of halving inflation to 5% was made by Sunak when headline inflation was at a double-digit figure in January.
Daily Digest Market Movers: Pound Sterling awaits CPI data
- Pound Sterling seems vulnerable as investors turn cautious ahead of UK inflation data for August, which will be released on Wednesday at 06:00 GMT.
- Headline inflation is expected to persist higher as global oil prices have rallied more than 40% in the last four months.
- As per the estimates, monthly headline CPI expanded at a stronger pace of 0.7% despite contracting by 0.4% in July. Annual headline inflation is seen accelerating to 7.1% against July’s reading of 6.8%.
- The annualized core CPI that excludes volatile oil and food prices is seen softening marginally to 6.8% vs. 6.9% in July. Investors remain worried about high core inflation led by stronger wage growth.
- Generally, Bank of England policymakers take into account core inflation for monetary policy consideration, but higher headline CPI could elevate trouble for them as household income would be squeezed due to more out-of-pocket expenditures on gasoline and energy components.
- The inflation data for August will be followed by the interest rate decision from the BoE, which will be announced on Thursday.
- A Reuters poll showed that the BoE is going to raise interest rates by 25 basis points (bps) to 5.5% in its upcoming monetary decision, which is scheduled for September 21.
- Apart from the interest rate decision for September, investors would like to know whether the BoE will raise interest rates in November or will wait to assess the impact of current policy rates before making a decision.
- Citigroup now predicts the BoE will pause rate hikes in November in contrast to the 25 bps hike expected earlier.
- More interest rate hikes from the central bank would elevate their consequences on the manufacturing sector and labor growth. The British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) reported on Monday that 46% of firms it surveyed said the increase in rates so far was having a negative impact, while 45% said they were not directly impacted.
- The market mood remains cautious in the US as investors await the monetary policy decision from the Federal Reserve (Fed), which will be announced on Wednesday. The Fed is widely expected to keep rates unchanged as inflation is falling and the economy is still resilient.
- It will be exciting to watch whether the Fed manages to secure the economy on a path of easing inflation with only lightly diminished economic prospects. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Monday she saw no signs the economy is entering a downturn.
- The US Dollar Index (DXY) oscillates inside Monday’s trading range despite the Fed being expected to maintain the status quo on Wednesday. Meanwhile, 10-year US Treasury yields climb above 4.3% ahead of Fed policy.
Technical Analysis: Pound Sterling juggles near a three-month low around 1.2370
Pound Sterling trades back and forth near a three-month low of around 1.2370 as investors see a vulnerable economic outlook for the UK economy on expectations of one more interest rate increase from the BoE this week. The Cable seems broadly bearish, trading below the 200-day Exponential Moving Average (EMA), which is at 1.2490. Downward-sloping 20 and 50-day EMAs indicate that the short-term trend is bearish. Momentum oscillators also indicate strength in the bearish impulse.
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.