GBP/USD Forecast: Can cable keep the calm before Thursday's storms? US data could rock it

  • GBP/USD has been under pressure after rate hike talk from Treasury Secretary Yellen.
  • Sterling awaits the BOE and Scotland elections on Thursday.
  • US figures are set to rock the dollar on Wednesday.
  • The four-hour chart is painting a balanced picture for the currency pair.

Another independence referendum in Scotland? The question is high on the agenda as opinion polls show secessionist parties are on the verge of clinching a majority in Thursday's elections. That could cause jitters for the pound, with traders also eyeing regional and local polls across England. 

The pound's lack of willingness to move can also be attributed to the Bank of England's "Super Thursday" rate decision. Will Governor Andrew Bailey signal that a reduction in the BOE's bond-buying scheme? New forecasts will likely point to stronger growth as Britain emerges from the COVID-19 crisis, but much of that might already be in the price. 

See BOE Preview: Three reasons why Super Thursday could become a sterling suffer-fest

Tensions toward these events do not mean cable cannot move. First, last-minute opinion polls and BOE speculation could rock the pound. Moreover, the dollar has reasons to rock and roll.

Traders are still digesting Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen's comments about the potential for rate hikes if inflation continues rising. As the former Chair of the Federal Reserve, Yellen carries more clout than her predecessors in the Treasury. While she later retracted her comments and insisted that the Fed is independent – her successor Jerome Powell rejects raising rates nor tapering bond-buys – markets continue shivering. For the dollar, it means more upward pressure.

However, investors have little time to rest as top-tier US figures are due out on Wednesday. ADP's employment figures for the private sector are set to show a pick-up in private-sector hiring in April. Markets are set to respond despite the weaker correlation between the payroll firm's statistics and official ones.

US ADP Employment Change: Caution surfaces in manufacturing

The ISM Services Purchasing Managers' Index is forecast to remain on high ground, pointing to a boom in America's largest sector. However, after the Manufacturing PMI dropped – apparently due to bottlenecks and rising prices – a drop cannot be ruled out.

US ISM Services PMI April Preview: Inflation readings remain key as recovery gains strength

Low expectations could turn into a positive surprise and boost the dollar, but that is uncertain. There is higher certainty about an uptick in volatility.

GBP/USD Technical Analysis

Pound/dollar is battling the 50 Simple Moving Average on the four-hour chart, but trades above the 100 and 200 SMA. On the other hand, momentum remains to the downside. All in all, the picture is mixed. 

Support awaits at 1.3840, which was a swing low on Tuesday, and it is followed by 1.38, the weekly low. Further down, 1.3750 and 1.3720 await the currency pair.

Resistance is at 1.3930, which is the daily peak, followed by 1.3980 and the all-important 1.4010 level. 

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