GBP/USD Hits New High Since Referendum

GBP/USD has hit a new high since 2016 as the dollar remained under pressure. UK data could strengthen sterling today.

Previous Day's Market Highlights

The pound rallied above 1.43 against the dollar yesterday for the first time since 25 January, only its second time breaching that level since the referendum. A push higher overnight saw cable break January’s highs of 1.4346 to reach a new post-referendum high. The dollar was softer against the euro as well, weakening back into the upper half of euro-dollar’s 1.23-1.24 band. Sterling-euro continued to trade above 1.15 but again met resistance around 1.1590, its highest levels in around 11 months.
 
Sterling strength saw it hit one-week highs against the commodity currencies, regaining the 1.84 level against the Aussie, 1.95 against the kiwi, and 1.80 against the Canadian dollar. The pound has been broadly supported recently by progress in Brexit negotiations and expectations of a BoE rate hike, while the US dollar has weakened on trade concerns.
 
The dollar fell on Trump’s currency devaluation tweet, while the overall the market impact of weekend events in Syria was relatively limited as escalation fears seemed not to be realised. Equities rose. Elsewhere, the dollar had limited reaction to an above-forecast Retail Sales print and Kaplan, a non-voting member of the Fed this year, said he sees three hikes as appropriate this year.

Currency Pairing 08:00 Today Vs 08:00 Yesterday Four-Week High Four-Week Low % Change
GBP/EUR 1.1583 1.1590 1.1363 1.96%
GBP/USD 1.4365 1.4372 1.3965 2.83%
EUR/USD 1.2401 1.2477 1.2218 2.08%
GBP/AUD 1.8453 1.8509 1.8139 2.00%
GBP/NZD 1.9540 1.9644 1.9171 2.41%
GBP/CAD 1.8038 1.8417 1.7817 3.26%

Today's Market Highlights

Geopolitical headlines will remain on investors’ minds today, but attention this morning will be on the UK’s latest labour market figures (09:30 BST). An unchanged Unemployment Rate and lower Claimant Count Change reading may provide some interest, but market focus will primarily be on the latest wage figures. A pick-up is anticipated but could still strengthen the pound, keeping the BoE on track to raise interest rates. However, if the figures disappoint, the pound could instead fall back from recent highs.
 
Combined with potential euro weakness around a projected drop in Economic Sentiment, this could see sterling-euro maintain recent highs, although the overall impact of the release on the euro will likely be relatively limited. In the afternoon, the US releases Building Permits and Housing Starts, a pick-up in which could strengthen the dollar.

Today's Economic Calendar

Time Currency Release Consensus Previous
09:30 GBP ILO Unemployment Rate 3M (Feb) 4.3% 4.3%
09:30 GBP Claimant Count Change (Mar) 5.0K 9.2K
09:30 GBP Average Earnings Incl Bonus 3M/Yr (Feb) 3.0% 2.8%
09:30 GBP Average Earnings Excl Bonus 3M/Yr (Feb) 2.8% 2.6%
10:00 EUR German ZEW Economic Sentiment (Apr) -1.6 5.1
10:00 EUR Eurozone ZEW Economic Sentiment (Apr) 7.3 13.4
13:30 USD Building Permits MoM (Mar) 1.328M 1.321M
13:30 USD Housing Starts MoM (Mar) 1.269M 1.236M
13:30 CAD Foreign Securities Purchases (Feb) $7.24B $5.68B
14:15 USD Fed's Williams Speaks
14:15 USD Industrial Production MoM (Mar) 0.3% 0.9%
14:15 USD Capacity Utilization (Mar) 77.9% 77.7%
NZD Global Dairy Trade Price Index -0.6%
16:00 USD Fed's Harker Speaks
22:40 USD Fed's Bostic Speaks

Caxton