GBPUSD enjoyed a 35-pip bounce before the European open following a positive read from the UK Halifax House Price Index, which indicated a 1.1% price rise for February. The data follows a positive read from yesterday’s PMI data from the UK construction sector and retail sales data, which came in at 4.9% for February compared to 3.9% in January.
Since the open, however, cable has struggled to maintain momentum hampered by a resurgence in the US dollar trading at 1.2010 when writing. A sense of stability has returned to the UK property market following the turmoil experienced last year, with a second successive month of gains following a drop in December 2022.
Prices remain down 2.5% on a QoQ basis, with underlying activity still indicative of a downward trend. The report attributed the February price rise to reductions in mortgage rates, improving consumer confidence, and the ongoing resilience displayed by the UK labor market, which has undoubtedly resulted in an uptick in demand, helping prices.
The Dollar Index, meanwhile, began the week slightly on the back foot yesterday ahead of a busy week for the greenback on the data front. We have the NFP jobs report on Friday. Still, all eyes will no doubt be fixed on Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, who begins his semi-annual testimony before the Senate Banking Committee in Washington DC, later today.
The two-day testimony may provide further clues as to where the Fed sees peak rates ending up and the continued fight against inflation. Market participants will have to keep their ears peeled for potential comments, which could either spur on further gains for the USD or leave it susceptible to losses following a strong February, which saw peak rate expectation rise from 4.8% to a high of 5.5%.
The daily timeframe remains caught between the moving averages with the 50-day MA providing resistance to the upside and the 100 and 200-day MA forming a golden cross providing support. This morning’s bounce saw us trade temporarily outside the upper end of the wedge formation. However, a daily candle close above will be needed to confirm a breakout.
The range between 1.1925 – 1.2145 remains firm, and a breakout of the wedge pattern on either side may make breaking out of the 220-pip range difficult. Later today, Fed chair Powell’s testimony may provide a catalyst and some volatility. Whether this will be enough to inspire a breakout of the wedge pattern with a daily candle close remains to be seen, but it is worth keeping an eye on.