Thanks to Cyprus, sterling managed to catch a bid last week on European haven flows. To start this new trading week, however, GBP has traded weak with $GBPUSD, $GBPAUD and $GBPNZD all off their highs of last week. Naturally, sterling still remains stronger versus the euro as the Cypriot crisis still remains. With a relatively light news week from the UK, look for sterling to remain mixed as it gains strength against the euro and possibly the USD but remains weaker against the commodity dollars.
Cyprus has put the PIIGS front and center again just when market participants thought that ship had finally sailed. Citizens of the PIIGS, in particular, should rightfully be concerned about the possible seizure of their bank accounts. Furthermore, if you have money parked in any country that was on the brink of a bailout, you are headed to the ATM right now and to the teller window come Monday. So what does this have to do with sterling? Just when it looked like the weak GBP trend would resume in this new trading week, expect sterling to strengthen on the back of safe haven flows behind the USD, CHF, and JPY. While this is certainly the case for the Monday open, will this new safe haven status really last? With all the news from the UK this week — CPI, BoE minutes, unemployment report, and retail sales — one can have her doubts. Not to mention the RBA and FOMC minutes releases too. Remember it is market reaction to the news, not the news itself, that dictates price action. This week will be no different.
Sterling did produce a correction rally last week as $GBPUSD made a high at 1.5200, $GBPAUD as high as 1.4850; $GBPNZD as high as 1.8350; $GBPCAD as high as 1.5650; and $EURGBP as low as 0.8590. These rallies, for the most part, kept GBP below previous long term lows. This technical development was certainly the case for the $GBPUSD, $EURGBP, and $GBPNZD where all pairs have broken long term support levels. While the BoE did not move on additional QE, the surprising development of the week was the BoE’s possible change to a dual mandate to combat both inflation and unemployment. With this new trading week very light out of the UK, expect sterling price to continue to weaken across the board. While US news and the RBNZ rate decision will influence those respective currency pairs, the protocol with sterling is clearly to sell the rallies.
As expected, sterling continued its descent and dropped to new lows last week as traders began to short GBP en masse. However, when much-lower-than-expected UK manufacturing PMI failed to produce a selloff on Friday, it became clear to me that perhaps sterling may be due for a bit of a correction. This week, traders are treated to rate decisions from the Reserve Bank of Australia, Bank of Japan, Bank of Canada, Bank of England and the European Central Bank. With poor economic data in the UK and the revelation of more MPC members in favor of additional monetary stimulus, the BoE could surprise the market with more accommodative policies. Any dovish announcement will see sterling break to new lows while a hold on policy could fuel a GBP corrective rally. It should be an interesting week.