GBP/USD hits multi-week lows near 1.2420 pre-US CPI as UK growth fears linger

  • GBP/USD hit multi-week lows on Friday in the low 1.2400s, with bears eyeing a push lower into the 1.2300s.
  • Near-term focus is on the upcoming US CPI release and whether it will impact Fed tightening expectations.

GBP/USD broke out to fresh multi-week lows in the 1.2420 area on Friday amid mixed FX market conditions and somewhat risk-averse pre-US inflation data trading conditions. The pair was last trading with losses of roughly 0.5% on the day, with bears eyeing a push lower into the 1.2300s in the week ahead should fears about the weakening UK economy linger.

According to a REC survey cited by Reuters on Friday, UK employers hired staff at the slowest pace since early 2021 in May, with the hiring pace having now declined for a sixth successive month. Sterling also has domestic politics to worry about, with the UK government reiterating its intention to pass legislation that would unilaterally amend the Northern Ireland Protocol (putting the UK’s free trade deal with the EU at risk) and with UK PM Boris Johnson’s authority having been weakened after a no-confidence vote on Monday that saw a larger than expected rebellion from his own MPs.

In the near-term, focus will be on US Consumer Price Inflation data scheduled for 1230GMT and analysts think that the data might ease inflation worries, which could (at the margin) relieve some pressure being felt by the Fed to tighten policy so quickly in the quarters ahead. This could provide GBP/USD with some short-term support. But given Fed/BoE policy diversion and a comparatively weak UK growth story, traders may be inclined to sell any sterling rallies.

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