The pound continues to gain ground and has risen 1.0% this week. In North American trade, GBP/USD is trading at 1.3182, up 0.37% on the day. On the release front, British Services PMI dropped to 48.9, missing the estimate of 51.0 points. This marked the first decline since June 2017. In the U.S., employment and services data was softer than expected. ADP nonfarm payrolls was dismal, falling to 129 thousand, down from 183 thousand in the previous release. ISM Non-Manufacturing PMI also stumbled, falling from 59.7 to 56.1 points. On Thursday, the U.S. releases unemployment claims.
Soft U.S. numbers this week have raised concerns about the strength of the U.S. economy. The Non-Manufacturing PMI slowed considerably, although it still indicated expansion. Durable goods orders plunged 1.6%, and retail sales fell by 0.2%. The weak numbers have weighed on the dollar, allowing the pound to gain ground despite turmoil and uncertainty over Brexit. Analysts are keeping an eye on GDP, and there are growing worries that first quarter numbers could be dismal. Growth for the first quarter could be as low as 0.8% annualized, compared to 2.2% in the fourth quarter.
The Brexit saga continues, as parliament continues to say ‘no’ to alternatives to Brexit. On Tuesday, lawmakers rejected four indicative votes. With Britain unable to get its act together, there are growing fears that the country will crash out of the European Union without a deal. Such a scenario could hurt economic growth and send the pound reeling. There is also a possibility that the Brexit deadline, which is on April 12, could again be extended. The chaos surrounding Brexit has been bad for business, but actually boosted the February manufacturing PMI, which jumped to 55.2 points. The strong reading reflected significant activity on the manufacturing front, as manufacturers are stockpiling raw materials and finished goods in case that a hard Brexit scenario materializes.
European open – Markets off to a bright start
Pound sterling in the shop window
Wednesday (April 3)
- 4:30 British Services PMI. Estimate 51.0. Actual 48.9
- 8:15 US ADP Nonfarm Employment Change. Estimate 184K. Actual 129K
- 10:00 US ISM Non-Manufacturing PMI. Estimate 58.1. Actual 56.1
- 10:30 US Crude Oil Inventories. Estimate -0.7M. Actual 7.2M
Thursday (April 4)
- 8:30 US Unemployment Claims. Estimate 215K
*All release times are DST
*Key events are in bold
GBP/USD for Wednesday, April 3, 2019
GBP/USD April 3 at 11:55 DST
Open: 1.3133 High: 1.3196 Low: 1.3121 Close: 1.3165
GBP/USD was flat in the Asian session. The pair posted slight gains in European trade and the upward movement continues in North American trade
- 1.3070 is providing support
- 1.3170 is under pressure in resistance
- Current range: 1.3070 to 1.3170
Further levels in both directions:
- Below: 1.3070, 1.2910 and 1.2841
- Above: 1.3170, 1.3258, 1.3362 and 1.3460