GBP/USD Forecast For March 1-5: Pound Slips Below 1.40

GBP/USD had its first losing week in almost two months, as the US dollar rebounded. The upcoming week has five releases, including PMIs. Here is an outlook for the highlights and an updated technical analysis for GBP/USD.

UK employment numbers were stronger than expected. Unemployment claims fell by 20 thousand, the first drop in three months. Wage growth continues to accelerate and hit 4.7% in December, up from 4.1%. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.1%. At a parliamentary hearing, BoE policymakers said they did not expect inflation to shoot above the bank’s 2% inflation target

In the US, Fed Chair Powell had a dovish message for the markets in his testimony before Congress. Second-estimate GDP for Q4 came in at 4.1%, revised upwards from 4.1%. There was positive news from Durable Goods reports, with strong acceleration in January. The headline read jumped 3.4%, while Core Durable Goods rose 1.4%.

GBP/USD daily chart with support and resistance lines on it. Click to enlarge:

  1. Manufacturing PMI: Monday, 9:30. Manufacturing remains in expansionary territory, and the forecast of 54.9 for the second estimate is expected to confirm the initial estimate.
  2. BRC Shop Price Index: Wednesday, 00:01. This inflation gauge is limited to reports from BRC shops. The January read showed a decline of 2.2%, its sharpest contraction in eight months. We now await the February data.
  3. Services PMI: Wednesday, 9:30. The Services PMI has been moving higher and is close to the 50-level, which separates contraction from expansion. The final release is expected at 49.7, which is expected to confirm the initial estimate.
  4. Construction PMI: Thursday, 9:30. The Construction PMI is expected to accelerate to 51.1, up from 49.2 beforehand. This would point to slight expansion. 
  5. Annual Budget Release: Wednesday, Tentative. The Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak will present the new UK budget. This event, also known as the Spring Statement, will consist of new forecasts for the economy. The COVID-19 vaccine campaign has gone very well, and the government has introduced a timetable to lift health restrictions. Any unexpected positive news in the budget will be bullish for the pound.
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