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GBP/USD Posts Second Largest Gap on Record, Liquidity Recharging

GBP/USD Posts Second Largest Gap on Record, Liquidity Recharging

2017-01-17 01:01:00
John Kicklighter, Chief Strategist

Talking Points:

  • Reports over the weekend suggesting UK PM May would pursue a 'hard Brexit' in her speech drove the Pound lower Monday
  • The GBP/USD's bearish gap was the second largest on record while the EUR/GBP's bullish gap outstripped the post-Brexit gulf
  • With so much event risk stirring major themes today this week - ECB, US CPI, China GDP - throttle trend expectations

Sign up for the live ECB decision or China 4Q GDP coverage and see what other live coverage is scheduled to cover key event risk for the FX and capital markets on the DailyFX Webinar Calendar.

For much of the global market, the extended US holiday weekend was a curb to both volatility and trend Monday. Yet, the Pound was not so bound to this quiet as weekend headlines drummed up extraordinary volatility for the Sterling. Anticipation was already high heading into the weekend with the news that UK Prime Minister Theresa May was set to layout the government's priorities for the Brexit negotiations this Tuesday. Perhaps preempting a dramatic response to the leader's long-awaited guidelines, the crux of the government's approach was supposedly leaked to the media. A 'hard Brexit' is now the running expectation for the UK's separation from the European Union; and the Pound did not respond favorably to the update.

To open the week, the GBP/USD opened more than 190 pips lower than Friday's close - marking the second largest notional and percentage gaps on record. The Sterling pain was evenly distributed with EUR/GBP posting a record bullish jump while a number of the crosses posted impressive technical progress with the news. With the Cable once again at its lowest close in over three decades, the threat of more pain on this theme is clear, but amid the excitement it is important to reflect on how far this depreciation will run. The currency's slide since the initial vote was announced has been aggressive and its current bearings are already in 'disaster scenario' territory. Will an austere negotiation keep the tumble running? It would be difficult to continuously escalate this threat to ever greater heights - especially with the repercussions to trader partners (like the Eurozone) becoming more clear.

All eyes will be fixed on Theresa May today as volatility attracts market participants focus far and wide. However, there will be much more to account for as the week continues. The return of liquidity after the US holiday will play a critical role in reviving the speculative trends that have seen pressure build in patterns like the S&P 500's ascending wedge with resistance at a record high. Meanwhile, early Fed speak and Euro-area sentiment updates will stir up rate expectations for the former and stability concerns for the latter. Above the short-term event risk, major themes such as global trade health, Chinese economic growth and Euro-area stability will accompany the risk trends and Brexit that are already drawing traders' attention. We review the Pounds aggressive start and trace out the upcoming catalysts in today's Trading Video.

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