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British Pound (GBP) Latest: Brexit Trade Talk, New Lockdowns and UK Retail Sales Data

British Pound (GBP) Latest: Brexit Trade Talk, New Lockdowns and UK Retail Sales Data

Nick Cawley, Senior Strategist


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GBP/USD Price, Chart and Analysis:

  • EU/UK trade talks given hope.
  • Localised lockdowns near as COVID-19 continues to spread.
  • UK retail sales boosted by online sales.

For all economic data and events, see the DailyFX Calendar.

Sterling took a sharp leg higher Thursday after comments from European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen hit the wires, saying that she was ‘convinced’ a trade deal between the EU and the UK was still possible. Von der Leyen added that the UK’s Internal Market Bill was a distraction and suggested that that the trade talks should continue while the political issues were being addressed. The British Pound jumped after the release, hitting 1.3100 against the US dollar and the pair still retain most of yesterday’s gains in early trade today.

The government is looking at new localized lockdowns as COVID-19 continues to spread, according to new media reports. The UK recorded 3,395 new cases yesterday, the sixth straight day that the numbers have been above 3,000, and fears grow that the number of hospital admissions will soon rise sharply. Health Minister Matt Hancock said that a new national lockdown remained the last line of defence, adding that new local lockdowns should help prevent this from happening.

UK retail sales data for August released earlier today showed a continued recovery but a slowing pace. Annual retail sales rose by 2.8%, slightly below market expectations but double the number seen in July, while retail sales ex fuel rose by 4.3% compared to 3.1% last month. Growth was led by online food and clothes sales while the high street and fuel sales continued to suffer.

GBP/USD trades around 1.2885 and continues to hold onto a majority of Thursday’s gains. This week’s highs between 1.3002 and 1.3036 may provide an initial zone of resistance, while the 50-dma and the 20-dma at 1.3074 and 1.3102 respectively should hold in the short-term. Support around 1.2860 -1.2875.

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GBP/USD Daily Price Chart (January – September 18, 2020)

Data provided by
of clients are net long. of clients are net short.
Change in Longs Shorts OI
Daily 3% 1% 2%
Weekly -16% 19% 2%
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IG client sentiment data shows 44.81% of traders are net-long with the ratio of traders short to long at 1.23 to 1. The number of traders net-long is 3.95% lower than yesterday and 12.07% lower from last week, while the number of traders net-short is 3.17% lower than yesterday and 21.59% higher from last week.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.

Traders of all levels and abilities will find something to help them make more informed decisions in the new and improved DailyFX Trading Education Centre

What is your view on Sterling – bullish or bearish?? You can let us know via the form at the end of this piece or you can contact the author via Twitter @nickcawley1.

DailyFX provides forex news and technical analysis on the trends that influence the global currency markets.