Sterling (GBP) Weekly Outlook - Brexit Deadline Nears as UK PM Johnson Comes Under the Spotlight
Brexit Outlook and Sterling (GBP/USD) Price, Analysis and Chart:
- Brexit talks remain stalled as the mid-November deadline nears.
- UK PM’s handling of lockdown 2.0 under scrutiny.
The fundamental outlook for Sterling remains negative with price action pointing to the downside unless EU-UK trade talks can finally produce some positive headlines. This week started with a dose of optimism that common ground had been found on fisheries but commentary from the EU at the end of the week denied this and reiterated that major differences between the two sides remain. According to reports, UK PM Boris Johnson wanted to meet EU leaders to try and resolve the current situation, effectively sideling EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier, but his plans were rejected. The EU has a November 15 deadline for a trade deal to be struck so it can be ratified by the end of the year.
The end of the week saw UK PM Johnson’s credibility take a further blow when the latest YouGov poll showed Labour opening up a five-point lead over the Conservatives. The poll showed headline voting intention favor Labor by 40 to 35, while Sir Keir Starmer was seen as the best choice as Prime Minister by 34 to 29 percent.
The Bank of England this week left interest rates unchanged but ramped up the UK bond-buying program by much more than expected as the UK economy looks set to fall into a double-dip recession. Another GBP150 billion was added to the QE program, compared to analysts’ expectations of GBP100 billion, boosting the program up to GBP895 billion in total.
The UK went into lockdown 2.0 this week with the government, and their scientists, being put under scrutiny over the timeliness of the data used. The data, which suggested that up to 4,000 people a day could die, was robustly challenged and scientists said that the numbers used were exaggerated and out of date.
Ahead next week there is very little official data on the slate until the latest employment and GDP figures are released on Tuesday and Thursday respectively. The unemployment rate is seen nudging higher, to 4.8% from 4.5%, while the annual UK GDP is seen at -9.4% compared to a prior -21.5%.
GBP/USD has proved resilient this week and pushed back above 1.3100 despite the layers of negative news. US dollar weakness has been the driver of nearly all of the move with Sterling flat against most other currencies. Sterling is marginally higher over the week against the Euro, but further upside is unlikely. GBP/USD may move slightly higher if the US dollar weakens further, but cable is becoming more vulnerable to a sharp move lower if EU-UK trade talks fail.
GBP/USD Daily Price Chart (March – November 6, 2020)
IG client sentiment data show36.17% of traders are net-long GBP/USD. We typically take a contrarian view to crowd sentiment, and the fact traders are net-short suggests GBP/USD prices may continue to rise.Traders are further net-short than yesterday and last week, and the combination of current sentiment and recent changes gives us a stronger GBP/USD-bullish contrarian trading bias.
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