Pound pairs could be in for yet another action-packed trading week with these major market movers on deck. Take a look at what’s in store, what happened before, and what your fellow forex junkies are expecting.
1. Brexit debate in parliament
First up is a potentially strong catalyst that’s not in your usual economic calendar. In case you missed it, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May recently allowed British lawmakers to debate on the government’s Brexit plans before officially invoking Article 50. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean that MPs can decide to undo the Brexit decision altogether but rather have the opportunity to “properly scrutinize” the government’s game plan before it goes head to head with the EU in negotiations.
These discussions are scheduled to conclude early this week, with the outcome of the British High Court hearings set to be announced soon. For many, this could determine whether the U.K. is in for a “soft Brexit” or a “hard Brexit” which would likely involve losing access to the single market.
As always, stay on the lookout for any headlines on how these discussions turned out, as well as any reactions from EU officials. Need I remind y’all how French President Hollande’s remarks may have been to blame for the pound flash crash a few days back?
2. Inflation reports (Oct. 18, 8:30 am GMT)
On Tuesday’s London trading session, the U.K. will print its September inflation reports. Headline CPI is expected to come in at 0.9%, up from the earlier 0.6% figure, while core CPI could rise from 1.3% to 1.4% to reflect slightly stronger inflationary pressures. Along with these, the U.K. will also print underlying inflation data, namely producer input and output prices, the house price index, and the retail price index.
Market watchers tend to make a big deal out of these inflation readings because it’s the central bank’s mandate to maintain price stability. Stronger inflationary pressures could convince the Bank of England to keep a lid on stimulus for the time being, with sterling’s recent depreciation likely to shore up domestic price levels.
In the previous release, both headline and core CPI fell short of estimates, showing no change from the earlier readings and reviving speculations of additional easing from the BOE. The pound dropped like a rock after the numbers were printed, with Cable falling by roughly 150 pips before consolidating a few hours into the New York session.
3. Employment data (Oct. 19, 8:30 am GMT)
Next up, we’ve got the U.K. jobs figures, which have three major components: the claimant count change, the jobless rate, and the average earnings index. The claimant count change, which basically indicates the increase or decrease in the number of fellas claiming unemployment benefits, is expected to be up by 3.4K in September.
Meanwhile, the jobless rate likely held steady at 4.9% for August while the average earnings index is expected to hold steady at 2.3% as well. Stronger than expected results could be bullish for the pound since improving employment trends and higher wages could support consumer spending and overall growth down the line.
The earlier release was a mixed bag, though, as claimant count was higher than expected (more joblessness) while the average earnings index beat expectations (higher wages). Cable initially popped higher upon seeing the numbers before consolidating then eventually heading south later in the day.
4. Retail sales (Oct. 20, 8:30 am GMT)
Lastly, we’ve got the September U.K. retail sales report lined up on Thursday’s London session. A rebound of 0.3% in consumer spending is eyed for the month, making up for the 0.2% decline seen in August.
Keep in mind that retail sales figures have posted stronger than expected results for back-to-back months, which means that there’s a lot of positive shopping momentum. To top it off, previous reports have seen upward revisions in three out of the last five months.
The August report printed a smaller than expected dip in retail sales versus the estimated 0.4% drop while the earlier figure was upgraded from 1.4% to 1.9%. Cable had an initial bullish reaction to the upbeat figures but was unable to hold on to its gains when the U.S. session rolled along.
Tips and Tricks
If you’re planning on trading any of these major catalysts, it might be helpful to note that the path of least resistance for pound pairs these days is to the downside. This has been particularly evident in the latest U.K. economic releases when downbeat CPI results triggered a larger and more prolonged selloff compared to the positive reactions to mixed jobs data or upbeat retail sales figures.
Of course it’s also worth remembering that the outcome of the Brexit parliament debates could set the tone for pound movement, as market sentiment could favor an upside bias for the currency if lawmakers push for a soft Brexit or a delay in triggering Article 50. But if all these risks ain’t exactly your cup of tea, there’s no shame in sitting on the sidelines and simply reassessing how these events can impact your longer-term pound bias. Good luck!
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