GBP/USD surrenders its modest intraday gains, flat-lined below 1.1900 ahead of US CPI

  • GBP/USD failed to preserve its modest intraday gains and dropped back closer to the daily low.
  • Brexit woes overshadowed upbeat UK macro data and acted as a headwind for the British pound.
  • Recession fears, aggressive Fed rate hike bets underpinned the USD and capped gains for the pair.
  • Investors now await the release of the US consumer inflation figures for a fresh directional impetus.

The GBP/USD pair struggled to capitalize on its intraday positive move and attracted fresh sellers near the 1.1935 region on Wednesday. The pair surrendered its early gains and retreated to the lower end of the daily range, around the 1.1885-1.1880 zone during the first half of the European session.

The British pound drew support from upbeat UK macro data, which validated market bets for a 50 bps rate hike by the Bank of England in August. In fact, the UK Office for National Statistics that the economy recorded a growth of 0.5% in May as against a flat reading expected. This was accompanied by stronger data from the UK industrial sector, though the initial market reaction turned out to be short-lived.

Investors remain worried that the UK government’s controversial Northern Ireland Protocol Bill could trigger a trade war with the European Union. This, in turn, was seen as a key factor that acted as a headwind for sterling. Apart from this, the underlying strong bullish sentiment surrounding the US dollar, bolstered by hawkish expectations, kept a lid on any meaningful gains for the GBP/USD pair.

In fact, the FOMC minutes released last week indicated that another 50 or 75 bps rate hike is likely at the upcoming meeting in July. Policymakers also emphasize the need to fight inflation even if it results in an economic slowdown. Hence, the focus remains on the US consumer inflation figures for June, which will drive Fed rate hike expectations and influence the near-term USD price dynamics.

A stronger-than-expected US CPI print would be enough to boost the greenback. Conversely, a softer reading is more likely to be overshadowed by growing fears about a possible global recession, which should continue to lend some support to the safe-haven buck. This suggests that the path of least resistance for the GBP/USD pair is down and any recovery could be seen as a selling opportunity.

Technical levels to watch

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