thunderpips

GBP USD - FUNDAMENTAL DRIVERS

FX:GBPUSD   British Pound / U.S. Dollar
GBP

FUNDAMENTAL OUTLOOK: WEAK BEARISH

BASELINE

A looming recession has been a key source of Pound weakness and has kept pressure on Sterling despite ongoing BoE hikes. At their NOV policy decision, the BoE’s updated projections showed a deeper and longer recession than previously thought, as well as a stern push back against current market pricing for the high implied rate path. However, rate markets did not respond to this with only marginal downside in terminal rate expectations. With the new budget now out of the way, the markets should turn their attention to what this means for the economic outlook and means economic data & BoE policy should start to matter a bit more again. Unfortunately, the week ahead is extremely light so the main driver will probably be overall risk sentiment.

POSSIBLE BULLISH SURPRISES

With recession the base assumption, any incoming data that surprises meaningfully higher could trigger relief for the GBP. With focus on stagflation, any downside surprises in CPI or factors that decrease inflation pressures are expected to support the GBP and not pressure it. Any overly positive takes from BoE speak regarding the budget could be taken as a positive for Sterling.

POSSIBLE BEARISH SURPRISES

With recession the base assumption, any material downside surprises in growth data can still trigger short-term pressure. With focus on stagflation, any upside surprises in CPI or factors that increase more inflation pressures are expected to weigh on the GBP and not support it. Any overly negative takes from BoE speak regarding the budget could be taken as a negative for Sterling.

BIGGER PICTURE

The fundamentals for Sterling remain bearish with the UK already in a recession based on recent data. At least the new PM has provided some calm to the fiscal situation and political uncertainty though. Expectations are for a lot of pain ahead for the UK economy which means the fundamental outlook remains bearish . But with a lot of bad news priced, we’re looking for shortterm upside opportunities.



USD

FUNDAMENTAL OUTLOOK: BULLISH

BASELINE

The Fed is on a data-dependent (meeting-by-meeting) policy stance, meaning incoming growth, inflation and jobs data remains a key driver for short-term USD volatility where we expect a cyclical reaction for both the USD and US10Y (good data expected to be supportive for the USD and US yields while bad data is expected to pressure the USD and US yields). The Fed is still under pressure to continue hiking rates and ramping up QT, but last week’s decent deceleration in the OCT CPI report has given markets some solace from inflation angst. Money markets shed about 30bsp off the implied terminal rate. As a result of this the USD saw intense selling but has largely stabilized this week. Like we’ve said many times, right now is all about the data. The data will lead the Fed, which means the data is what we should follow for high probability short-term directional flows for the USD. In the week ahead, we have a few of important data points such as ISM Manufacturing PMI and NFP on Friday. However, also pay close attention to the scheduled speech from Fed Chair Powell on Wednesday.


POSSIBLE BULLISH SURPRISES

With the Fed signalling a data dependent policy stance, we expect a cyclical reaction from the USD with incoming US data. Thus, extremely good growth, inflation or jobs data is expected to trigger short-term bullish reactions in the USD. If the cyclical outlook continues to weaken, the USD’s safe haven status still matters. Any incoming catalysts that increase deep recession fears and triggers strong moves lower in risk assets & bonds can trigger safe haven flows into the USD. With a lot priced for the Fed and USD, the bar is high for hawkish Fed surprises, but any aggressive Fed speak talking up a >5.5% terminal rate can trigger further USD upside. The speech from Fed Chair Powell will be important. If he delivers the same stern hawkish tone that accompanied the prior FOMC presser, it can provide upside for the USD.


POSSIBLE BEARISH SURPRISES

With the Fed signalling a data dependent policy stance, we expect a cyclical reaction from the USD with incoming US data. Thus, extremely bad growth, inflation or jobs data is expected to trigger short-term bearish reactions in the USD. If the cyclical outlook starts to improve, the USD’s safe haven status still matters. Any incoming catalysts that decrease deep recession fears and triggers strong moves higher in risk assets & bonds can trigger safe haven outflows out of the USD. With a lot priced in for the Fed and the USD, it won’t take much to disappoint on the dovish side. Any big concerns about growth from Fed speakers could trigger outflows.

BIGGER PICTURE

The fundamental outlook for the USD remains bullish as long as the Fed stays aggressively hawkish and cyclical concerns put pressure on risk sentiment. However, it’s also important to remember that the data leads the Fed. That means, even though the USD remains fundamentally bullish in the currency negative cyclical environment, it’s short-term direction will largely be determined by the incoming data. Thus, in the current context, we prefer trading the USD in the short-term with scalps out of key US economic data points.

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