Sterling banked on the confirmation that a no-deal Brexit would be avoided, but uncertainty remains as the delay is up for debate. What else can move GBP pairs this week?
Withdrawal Bill vote (Tentative)
Yep, again! This ain’t deja vu!
Prime Minister May might call for another meaningful vote – this would be the third one, I believe – for the Withdrawal Bill as she scrambles to get a bit more support from the DUP to tilt the results in her favor.
Former work and pensions secretary Esther McVey announced that she will support the bill, especially after last week’s turn of events made it clear that MPs don’t want to exit without a deal.
However, Chancellor Philip Hammond pointed out that this vote might not push through unless No. 10 is confident that she has enough support to win the entire thing. Keep in mind that the previous vote turned out in a crushing defeat of 391 to 242.
EU Summit (Mar. 21)
On the subject of last week’s votes, the U.K. parliament also pushed to delay Brexit. This is subject to the approval of EU officials, and their decision will likely be announced during their pow-wow this week.
Folks in Brussels are widely expected to give the go-signal for an extension since they seem inclined to avoid a disorderly Brexit themselves. European Council President Tusk has even advocated a long delay, explaining that a short one of less than three months probably wouldn’t accomplish much.
Prolonging the breakup, however, would keep businesses in limbo for much longer and this uncertainty might not bode well for the U.K. economy. But given how sterling has been keeping its head up on small victories, a scenario that buys the U.K. government more time could spur more gains.
U.K. economic data (starting Mar. 19)
While all the attention would likely be fixed on Brexit, it’s still worth keeping tabs on economic releases to see if Brits are keeping calm and carrying on.
The claimant count change is up for release on Tuesday’s London session and is expected to show a 13.1K increase in joblessness, slightly lower than the earlier 14.2K gain.
The average earnings index, which measures wage growth, is expected to have slipped from 3.4% to 3.2% in the three-month period ending in January. Not only would this hint at potentially weaker consumer spending, but it also suggests that inflationary pressures are slowing.
By midweek, we’ll get a better view of inflation in the U.K. as the economy prints its headline and core CPI, as well as other underlying figures on price pressures.
Headline CPI is slated to hold steady at 1.8% while the core version would likely stay unchanged at 1.9% as well. Producer input prices could post a 0.6% rebound from the earlier 1.0% decline while output prices might see a 0.1% uptick after the previous flat reading.
Retail sales data is also lined up for the week and could show a 0.4% dip for January after posting a 1.0% gain in December. This release doesn’t usually trigger a huge reaction among pound pairs as the earlier readings already provide some insight on how consumer spending might turn out.
BOE decision (Mar. 21)
As though Brexit events and top-tier data aren’t enough to cause a ruckus among pound pairs this week, the BOE will be taking center stage on Thursday to make its monetary policy statement.
No actual changes to interest rates or asset purchases are expected for the time being, but traders are eager to find out if the central bank’s bias has shifted on account of the latest Brexit developments.
Recall that head honcho Carney has warned of the potential repercussions of a disorderly or disastrous Brexit to overall economic performance, so policymakers might be pressed to provide more details on their preps now that these outcomes seem imminent.
Any indication that the BOE is prepared to ease monetary policy soon could force the pound to return its recent gains while more words of reassurance on the resilience of the U.K. economy could keep it afloat.
Missed last week’s price action? Read the GBP price review for March 11-15.