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Trading the News: U.K. Retail Sales

The U.K. Retail Sales report may keep GBP/USD under pressure as the headline reading for household spending is expected to contract 0.4% in April.

Image of DailyFX economic calendar

Signs of a less robust economy may produce headwinds for the British Pound as it encourages the Bank of England (BoE) to retain a wait-and-see approach for monetary policy. The central bank may come under pressure to abandon its rate hike bias as ‘quarterly growth is expected to slow to around 0.2% in Q2.

With that said, a decline of 0.4% or greater may trigger a bearish reaction in GBP/USD, but a positive development may curb the recent decline in the Pound Dollar exchange rate as Governor Mark Carney & Co. insist that ‘were the economy to develop broadly in line with its Inflation Report projections, an ongoing tightening of monetary policy over the forecast period, at a gradual pace and to a limited extent, would be appropriate to return inflation sustainably to the 2% target at a conventional horizon.

Keep in mind, headlines surrounding the Brexit negotiations may produce increased volatility in GBP/USD as Prime Minister Theresa May struggles to secure a deal.

Impact that the U.K. Retail Sales report had on GBP/USD during the last print

Period

Data Released

Estimate

Actual

Pips Change

(1 Hour post event )

Pips Change

(End of Day post event)

MAR

2019

04/18/2019 08:30:00 GMT

-0.3%

1.1%

0

-35

March 2019 U.K. Retail Sales

GBP/USD 10-Minute Chart

Image of gbpusd 10-minute chart

The U.K. Retail Sales report showed an unexpected expansion in household consumption, with private-sector spending increasing 1.1% in March after expanding a revised 0.6% the month prior. A deeper look showed the better-than-expected print was generate by a 4.2% rise in ‘non-store retailing,’ with the volume of retail sales increasing 6.7% from the previous year to mark the fastest pace of growth since 2016.

The initial reaction to the above-forecast print was short-lived, with GBP/USD struggling to hold above the 1.3000 handle as the exchange rate closed the day at 1.2979. Learn more with the DailyFX Advanced Guide for Trading the News.

GBP/USD Rate Daily Chart

Image of gbpusd daily chart
  • Keep in mind, the broader outlook for GBP/USD is no longer bullish as the exchange rate snaps the upward trend from late last year after failing to close above the Fibonacci overlap around 1.3310 (100% expansion) to 1.3370 (78.6% expansion).
  • As a result, the advance from the 2019-low (1.2373) may continue to unravel as the Relative Strength Index (RSI) highlights a similar dynamic, with the oscillator now tracking the bearish formation carried over from March.
  • A break/close below the 1.2610 (23.6% retracement) to 1.2640 (38.2% expansion) region opens up the Fibonacci overlap around 1.2370 (50% expansion) to 1.2440 (50% expansion), which largely lines up with the 2019-low (1.2373).
  • Will keep a close eye on the RSI as the oscillator pushes into oversold territory, but a move back above 30 may foreshadow a rebound in GBP/USD as the bearish momentum abates.

Sign up and join DailyFX Currency Analyst David Song LIVE for an opportunity to discuss potential trade setups.

Additional Trading Resources

New to the currency market? Want a better understanding of the different approaches for trading? Start by downloading and reviewing the DailyFX Beginners Guide.

Are you looking to improve your trading approach? Review the ‘Traits of a Successful Trader series on how to effectively use leverage along with other best practices that any trader can follow.

--- Written by David Song, Currency Strategist

Follow me on Twitter at @DavidJSong.