GBP/USD prints daily highs above 1.3380 as US dollar slumps

  • GBP/USD trades just below highs of the day in the 1.3380s, as month-end flows hurt USD.
  • Sterling’s rally comes despite continued deadlock in Brexit negotiations.

GBP/USD has moved back towards the top of its recent 1.3300-1.3400 range, buoyed by broad USD weakness that has seen the Dollar Index (DXY) slump to fresh lows of the year in the 91.50s. GBP/USD currently trades in the 1.3370s, up around 70 pips higher or with gains of over 0.5%.

GBP immune to continued Brexit deadlock

Pound sterling remains largely immune to negative Brexit headlines. GBP is one of the best performing G10 currencies on Monday, despite mixed/negative news flow on the state of talks over the weekend. An EU source reportedly said that EU/UK talks over the weekend in London were difficult and "massive divergences" remain on the three main areas. UK and EU officials have confirmed that differences between the two sides persist.

With GBP/USD close to multi-month highs, markets appear to place a high probability that a deal will be reached in the coming days, thus leaving the currency highly vulnerable to disappointment (i.e. if talks were collapse). However, despite continued gridlock in negotiations and no end to the impasse in sight just yet, most analysts do still a deal to be reached at some point prior to the end of the year, given just how strongly it is in the interest of both the UK and EU to get a deal done as both regions struggle to prop up their economies amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Elsewhere, comments from Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member Tenreyro largely went under the radar, as did UK lending data (Mortgage approvals beat expectations but Net Lending to Individuals and M4 Money Supply were soft). Looking ahead for GBP, aside from the key theme of Brexit this week’s calendar is looking quite sparse.

USD slumps amid month-end flows

Negative US dollar month-end flows appear to be one factor driving the buck lower on Monday; a number of bank models flagged a relatively strong sell signal for USD vs the rest of the G10 currencies aside from JPY.

More broadly, various other market narratives continue to keep USD suppressed; the path of the Covid-19 pandemic in the US is looking increasingly unfavourable vs the Eurozone and other parts of the world. Combine that with the fact that the current lame-duck Congress is unlikely to be able to deliver another much-needed stimulus package and Fed action in December is looking increasingly likely. Officials and the recently released minutes of the November meeting already hinted at tweaks to the bank’s QE programme if economic conditions continue to worsen.

Analysts note that the threat of Fed action undermines the safe-haven appeal of USD compared to JPY and CHF, whose respective central banks are maxed out, policy-wise. Meanwhile, vaccine optimism and growing hope for the post-pandemic global economic recovery, that ought to be hastened by the better global trade environment fostered by a Biden presidency, has been weighing on havens such as USD more broadly.

GBP/USD moves back into the top half of recent range

GBP/USD has made decent strides to the upside on Monday, the pair thus recovering back into the upper half of its recent approximate 1.3300-1.3400 range. If recent USD weakness continues, it seems plausible that the pair would be able to break the top of this range, even in absence of a Brexit deal (for trading the theme of Brexit, EUR/GBP is arguably the more appropriate instrument to look at).

Such a break would open up the door for a run at 1.3450 and then onto 1.3500 and the year-to-date high at 1.3516 just above it.

If the recent USD downside proves more short-term, with the bulls perhaps picking up again after a day of dollar negative month-end flows, GBP/USD might well turn lower again, but faces stiff support between 1.3290-1.3310. Below that, last Monday’s low sits in the 1.3260s ahead of the 21-day moving average just above the psychological 1.3200 level.

GBP/USD one hour chart


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