It has been an interesting start to the morning’s session. Following the UK GDP report, the Bank of England MPC member Ramsden talked up rate hikes as the jobs market could be stronger than anticipated, this comment momentarily lifted the GBPUSD whilst the euro started its 100 pips drop at the London open, but the pound eventually submitted to the US dollar strength and dropped 20 pips.
The yen is currently the strongest currency compared to its peers, closely followed by positive flows into the US dollar. Currently I am watching the GBPJPY, USDJPY and EURJPY as they trend lower, driven by further declines in the euro as worries around gas flows through Ukraine are affected by the war.
GDP growth in the UK declined by 0.1% in March, confirming that the UK economy has been unable to maintain strong growth since the start of the year. Stagflation is the best way to interpret this and in every way the BoE would take lower growth over a recession. In the latest report, services output declined 0.2%, and industrial production was down for a second month. The Q1 UK GDP expanded by 0.8% q/q, with weaker than forecast consumer spending, business investment, and exports, and stronger than forecast imports.
Due to high inflation and the impact on household real incomes, the outlook for the remainder of the year is uncertain. Moreover, the Northern Ireland protocol is still being negotiated, and that could lead to the UK walking away from the current agreements. As the UK Foreign Secretary meets with the European Commission counterpart today, we can expect headline volatility in the pound.
There have been several recent comments from ECB officials that point to a rate rise in July, given Eurozone CPI inflation at 7.5% and its potential to remain too high over the medium run. The comments made yesterday by ECB President Lagarde may be backed up by a couple of ECB members today that could add to the growing calls for a rate hike in July. These comments have done nothing to stop the decline in the euro and today the breakout of the weekly inside ranges has occurred and the path to parity is back on.
US producer price inflation and weekly jobless claims data are due this afternoon. According to economists, both headline inflation and core inflation (excluding food and energy) will fall in April, but remain high at 10.7% and 8.8%, respectively. CPI data showed that headline CPI fell from 8.5% to 8.3% in April, which indicates a gradual decline. While inflation remains high, the Fed is likely to raise rates further, likely by 50bp, at the next two meetings in June and July.
One of the best technical chart patterns I know for a continuation trade is based around a range. When we see a clear range from ahead of key economic data this is a build-up of energy. The market makers sweep either side of the range, removing stops and matching their clients’ orders. They make money whilst trading is mean reverting to the middle of the range. When price finally breakout after the mean as held as support, then the market makers allow the price to mark up and reprice. That is what we’re seeing in the US dollar index right now.
The GBPJPY has broken out of a range too and I am looking for this corrective move to come down to the 154.580 level to complete a measured move. This ABC correction could then do an about turn as the yen is generally one to sell in the long-term.