The Pound was thrown back into the limelight today after UK retail sales unexpectedly rose in August.
UK retail sales dished out an upside surprise by rising 0.3% last month as shoppers shrugged off Brexit concerns over the summer period. While this encouraging report adds to a number of solid economic indicators produced by the UK, investors are likely to remain more concerned with Brexit developments.
Market optimism over Britain striking a Brexit deal with the European Union has been the primary driver behind the Pound’s appreciation in recent weeks. However, it is becoming evident that Sterling remains extremely sensitive and highly reactive to Brexit talks. The explosive price action witnessed yesterday following reports of Theresa May set to reject the European Union’s “improved” offer on the Irish border is a testament to this.
Investors will be keeping a close eye on today’s informal EU summit in Salzburg which will play a major role in where the Pound concludes this week. It is worth noting that the Irish border puzzle remains a fierce obstacle to a deal, and it will be interesting to see if both sides are able to overcome this issue.
Taking a look at the technical picture, the GBPUSD is firmly bullish on the daily charts with prices trading above 1.3200 as of writing. While Dollar weakness has played a role in the Pound’s upside, most of the gains remain attributed to Brexit optimism and positive UK economic data. A solid daily close above the 1.3200 level could inject bulls with enough inspiration to challenge 1.3280 and 1.3320, respectively.
Dollar bulls were nowhere to be seen on Thursday as easing trade war fears boosted risk sentiment – ultimately dampening the Greenback’s safe-haven appeal. A bout of profit taking ahead of the FOMC statement next week fueled the downside with the Dollar Index trading marginally below 94.30 as of writing. Sustained weakness under the 94.30 level could send prices towards 94.00 in the near term.
In the commodity markets, Gold prices struggled for direction despite easing trade tensions softening the Dollar. Price action suggests that the yellow metal is currently hunting for a fresh directional catalyst to make the next major move. In regards to the technical perspective, the $1,200 psychological level remains a significant point of interest with $1,213 acting as resistance and $1,190 a support.