GBP/USD Forecast: Upbeat jobs data unable to stop bears as extended lockdowns, other factors weigh

  • GBP/USD has been on the back foot amid a souring market mood and the surge in UK jobless claims.
  • Reactions to economic data and speculation about the lockdown are set to move cable.
  • Tuesday's four-hour chart is pointing to further losses for the currency pair.

A bit of respite for the beaten pound? The UK Claimant Count Change has advanced by only 12,200 in March, far better than a leap of 172,500 projected. However, while the figures are encouraging, they seem to have failed to grasp the deterioration in the jobs market, compiled before the lockdown hit the British economy. The news helps GBP/USD stabilize but only just. 

The government tried to mitigate layoffs by offering a scheme to keep people at work. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak's furlough plan has attracted criticism as being insufficient to deal with the scale of the economic fallout and that it is hard to obtain. Around 140,000 companies applied to the scheme to receive partial salary funding for about one million workers – and that was only in its first day. 

Cable is also pressured due to US dollar strength. The US dollar is on the rise amid a souring market mood. The rout in oil prices – which sent WTI to a historic negative price on Monday – stands out. Petrol futures are now calculated using the June contract and are back above $20, but it may drop again and send investors to the safety of the greenback. Demand for the black gold has plunged amid the lockdowns.

Another concern for investors is the reported grave situation of Kim Jong-un, North Korea's leader. The rogue nation may fall into disarray. 

What to look out for

Parliament is back – taking precautionary social distancing measures – and ready to scrutinize the government. Issues regarding procuring ventilators, the supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to healthcare workers and Prime Minister Boris Johnson's involvement in the early stages of the crisis are on MPs minds.

UK coronavirus deaths have significantly dropped after several days of high figures, yet the total remains high at 16,550 and cases have topped 125,000. The British government is reportedly split on when and how to ease restrictions. 

Brexit negotiations continued via video and reports so far have been of a constructive mood with little detail. Michel Barnier, Chief EU Negotiator, will hold a press conference on Friday to detail progress. Without a trade deal, the UK will default to World Trade Organization rules after the transition period expires at year-end.

Later in the US, housing figures are of interest with the Existing Home Sales report for March. See Existing Home Sales: Unemployment strikes the housing market

However, as with the UK, COVID-19 statistics are eyed. New York has seen six consecutive days of declines in mortalities and markets will want to see the trend extending. President Donald Trump continues urging states to return to normal, yet that depends on governors and testing. 

Overall, coronavirus and its spillover on the economy are eyed.

GBP/USD Technical Analysis

Pound/dollar has slipped to the lowest in nearly two weeks and dipped below the 100 Simple Moving Average on the four-hour chart. Moreover, momentum remains to the downside. Overall, bears are gaining ground. 

Support awaits at the daily low of 1.2388, followed only at 1.2280, which was a stepping stone on the way up in early April. The monthly trough of 1.2165 is the next level to watch. 

Resistance awaits at 1.2445, which was a support line last week, and it is followed by the stubborn resistance line of 1.2525. The next levels to watch are 1.2575 and 1.2645. 

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