GDP Downright Depressing
According to the Office for National Statistics, growth for the UK economy in the 3-month period ending December fell by 0.3%. This compares with the 0.9% pace seen in the third quarter and lower than the 0.1% contraction estimated by market analysts. Even more depressing is the fact that the quarterly decline scraps any hope of the British economy to eke out a rate of expansion in 2012. The recent release now pits the annualized figure at unchanged – compared to estimates of at least a 0.2% expansion.
A slower pace of activity in manufacturing output alluded to the overall bearish GDP figure, as the sector has seen contraction in the 1.5% camp, with industrial output plunging 1.8%, according to ONS data. Government spending narrowed by 0.7% - a product of the UK PM Cameron’s deficit reduction plans.
All in all, with no silver lining available, today’s GDP figure remains widely bearish for the GBPUSD and the UK economy. This will now place more emphasis on future policy considerations by the Cameron administration, and more importantly the Bank of England. Although central bankers continue to focus on the Funding for Lending measure, it remains to be determined if it will pump enough support into the economy.
With that said, next months Bank of England meeting will surely gain more attention than before. Although nothing much is expected in the way of the interest rate, traders will be eyeing any shift in sentiment regarding the asset purchase.
According to the most recent minutes release of their January meeting, the MPC remains steadfast in its commitment to the current 375 billion pound asset purchase facility. However, the minutes reflected a bit of concern when it came to the overall economic situation – leaving open the possibility of further extensions in the near term.
Technical Levels To Watch
Although the GBPUSD is rebounding on the session, traders remain fixated on resistance at 1.5843. The barrier remains key to any further upside in the major pair – towards 1.5940. However, a failure to climb above the figure would propagate a decline to 1.5700 support.