British Pound, GBP/USD, EUR/GBP, UK Reopening, Covid-19 Vaccinations – Talking Points:
- Equity markets gained ground during APAC trade as stabilizing yields firmed market sentiment.
- The British Pound may continue to outperform on the back of Prime Minister Johnson’s reopening plan.
- GBP/USD guided higher by an Ascending Channel formation.
- EUR/GBP poised to extend losses after crashing through key support.
Equity markets regained lost ground during Asia-Pacific trade, with risk appetite firming in the wake of stabilizing bond yields. Australia’s ASX 200 climbed 0.86% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index surged 1.86%. Copper continued its surge to its highest levels since 2011, while crude oil prices crept towards $63 a barrel.
In FX markets, the commodity-sensitive CAD and NOK largely outperformed, while the haven-associated Japanese Yen lost ground against its major counterparts. Gold nudged marginally higher as yields on US 10-year Treasuries slid 1 basis point lower. Looking ahead, Euro-area inflation figures for January headline the economic docket alongside Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s semi-annual monetary policy testimony before Congress.
UK Reopening Plan to Bolster GBP
The British Pound has gained significant ground against the Euro and US Dollar since the start of 2020, climbing over 3.6% and 3.2% respectively from the yearly open. This outperformance looks set to continue over the coming weeks, on the back of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s four-step reopening plan and the notable divergence in vaccination rates between the three regions.
25.9% of the population in the United Kingdom has received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, while only 13.1% of Americans, and a measly 3.8% of European Union citizens, have been inoculated with at least one shot. The number of infections has also substantially decreased in the UK, with the 7-day moving average tracking coronavirus cases falling by just under 50,000 since peaking at 59,660 on January 9.
These positive developments have opened the door for the Prime Minister to put forward a plan that will allow schools to reopen in early-March, outdoor hospitality settings from mid-April, sporting venues from mid-May, and all other businesses by June.
Indeed, Johnson has painted a fairly optimistic outlook of the path ahead, stating that “the end really is in sight and a wretched year will give way to a spring and a summer that will be very different and incomparably better than the picture we see around us today”.
The prospect of a return to normality within the coming months will probably put a premium on the local currency and open the door for further gains against its haven-associated counterparts.
Source – Worldometer
EUR/GBP Daily Chart – Inverted Hammer Could Inspire Short-Term Rebound
EUR/GBP rates have plunged over 2% lower since the start of the month, with price falling to its lowest levels since March of 2020. With the slopes of all six moving averages diving lower, the RSI entering oversold territory for the first time in 14 months, and the MACD tracking firmly below its neutral midpoint, the path of least resistance seems lower.
However, the formation of a bullish Inverted Hammer reversal candle could inspire a short-term rebound back towards range resistance at 0.8670 – 8690. Nevertheless, an extended rebound higher seems fairly unlikely. Therefore, a continued downside move looks to be the more likely outcome, if psychological resistance at 0.8700 remains intact.
A daily close below 0.8630 ultimately required to signal the resumption of the primary downtrend and clear a path for price to challenge range support at 0.8575 – 0.8596. Breaching that brings the 38.2% Fibonacci (0.8518) into the crosshairs.
EUR/GBP daily chart created using Tradingview
IG Client Sentiment Report
The IG Client Sentiment Report shows 62.26% of traders are net-long with the ratio of traders long to short at 1.65 to 1. The number of traders net-long is 7.90% higher than yesterday and 12.18% higher from last week, while the number of traders net-short is 17.36% higher than yesterday and 0.21% lower from last week.
We typically take a contrarian view to crowd sentiment, and the fact traders are net-long suggests EUR/GBP prices may continue to fall.
Positioning is less net-long than yesterday but more net-long from last week. The combination of current sentiment and recent changes gives us a further mixed EUR/GBP trading bias.
GBP/USD Daily Chart – Ascending Channel Guiding Price Higher
The technical outlook for GBP/USD rates remains overtly bullish, as price surges above key psychological resistance at 1.4000 and continues to track within the confines of an Ascending Channel.
Bullish MA stacking, in tandem with the RSI surging into overbought territory, suggests that further gains are in the offing.
However, prices may consolidate above the 61.8% Fibonacci (1.3956), if buyers are unable to breach channel resistance, before making a move to challenge the 1.4200 mark. A daily close above that carves a path for buyers to challenge the 78.6% Fibonacci (1.4305).
Alternatively, sliding back below 1.3950 could trigger a short term pullback to former resistance-turned-support at the February 10 high (1.3866).
GBP/USD daily chart created using Tradingview
IG Client Sentiment Report
The IG Client Sentiment Report shows 31.96% of traders are net-long with the ratio of traders short to long at 2.13 to 1. The number of traders net-long is 5.41% higher than yesterday and 5.35% lower from last week, while the number of traders net-short is 1.96% higher than yesterday and 8.28% higher from last week.
We typically take a contrarian view to crowd sentiment, and the fact traders are net-short suggests GBP/USD prices may continue to rise.
Positioning is less net-short than yesterday but more net-short from last week. The combination of current sentiment and recent changes gives us a further mixed GBP/USD trading bias.
-- Written by Daniel Moss, Analyst for DailyFX
Follow me on Twitter @DanielGMoss