GBP/USD Shrugs After Mixed UK Data

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  • UK retail sales jump 1.3%, GDP contracts by 0.1%
  • US to release PCE Price Index on Friday

The British pound is drifting on Friday. In the European session, GBP/USD is trading at 1.2701, up 0.08%.

UK retail sales rebound but GDP contracts

UK retail sales jumped 1.3% in November m/m, bouncing back from 0% in October and beating the consensus estimate of 0.4%. This was the sharpest pace of growth since January and the increase was felt in all sub-sectors. Yearly, retail sales edged up 0.1%, after a downwardly revised decline of 2.5% in October and above the market consensus of -1.3%.

The GDP report was less cheery, as second-estimate GDP for Q3 came in at -0.1%, compared to 0% in the preliminary estimate. This has raised concerns that the weak UK economy could tip into a recession, as negative growth in the fourth quarter would officially be considered a technical recession. GDP for the second quarter was revised downwards to no growth, compared to the initial estimate of 0.2%.

The Bank of England will have to decide what to do with this mixed bag of data. The weak GDP could put pressure on the BoE to cut interest rates, but the sharp rebound in retail sales supports the central bank continuing its ‘higher for longer’ stance. The BoE has maintained the cash rate at 5.25% for three consecutive times.

In the US, Federal Reserve members have been pushing back this week against market expectations for rate cuts next year. The markets have priced in up to six cuts in 2024, but the Fed members have said that the markets are getting ahead of themselves and Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic said he expected two rate cuts in the second half of 2024. On Friday, the Fed will get a look at the PCE Price Index, the central bank’s preferred inflation indicator. The headline and core readings are expected to remain unchanged in November, at 0.2% and 0%, respectively.

GBP/USD Technical

  • GBP/USD is putting pressure on resistance at 1.2720. The next resistance line is 1.2750
  • 1.2636 and 1.2582 are providing support

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