Forex: GBP/USD strengthens but caps at 1.5820/25 (Barcelona) - The market has been volatile today because of the preliminary release of the UK GDP Q4 2012. First, an overnight drop to 1.5761 low, retraced to 1.5820 ahead of the publication. Worse than expected figures, at -0.3% QoQ (consensus of -0.1%) and 0.0% YoY (consensus of 0.2%), triggered a plunge down to 1.5747 low. But once again, losses have been retraced and the GBP/USD trades +0.20% higher on the day, at 1.5820.

TD Securities analysts point to UK manufacturing and services PMIs on early February as key to what may happen at the February BoE policy meeting. In case the PMIs disappoint, a new £25B round of QE may happen, “with the BoE feeling that it needs to do more on the demand side to keep underlying growth from turning negative again, even if there is a growing debate that QE may not be the best tool at the moment to fix what ails the UK economy”, wrote analyst Jacqui Douglas, expecting the BoE to reinvest the £6.1bn of its QE holdings maturing in March either way, along with some tweaks to the FLS program.

US New Home Sales eased from 0.398M to 0.369M in December, printing a lower figure than market consensus of 0.385. However, November data was revised higher from 0.377M to 0.389M.

“Struggling to hold above 1.5800, the pair is still unable to clearly overcome 1.5820 static resistance level, and 20 SMA in the 4 hours chart. In the short term, the hourly chart shows indicators flat in positive territory, reflecting the lack of bullish strength in the pair, although renewed buying interest above 1.5820 may see the pair nearing 1.5850 price zone”, wrote independent analyst Valeria Bednarik.

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