HomeContributorsFundamental AnalysisPound Jumps As US Inflation Drags Down Dollar

Pound Jumps As US Inflation Drags Down Dollar

The British pound has posted gains in the Wednesday session. In North American trade, GBP/USD is trading at 1.3867, up 0.53% on the day. On the release front, January consumer inflation beat expectations. CPI jumped 0.5%, above the estimate of 0.3%. Core CPI remained steady at 0.3%, edging above the forecast of 0.2%. Consumer spending reports in January were dismal. Retail Sales was flat at 0.0%, short of the estimate of 0.5%. Core Retail Sales declined 0.3%, well off the forecast of +0.2%. The sole British event, CB Leading Index, declined 0.2%.

The US dollar has posted broad losses in the North American session, as CPI indicators were higher than expected. Concerns of high inflation was a catalyst for the market sell-off last week, and fears of a resumption in the downward spiral are weighing on the dollar. What about the Federal Reserve? Currently, the Fed is planning three hikes this year, but that could change to four, or even five hikes, if inflation continues to head upwards and the robust US economy maintains its strong expansion. The new head of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, received a rude welcome from the stock markets, as he started his new position last week. Powell sought to send a reassuring message on Tuesday, saying that the Fed is on alert to any risks to financial stability. However, it is clear that the Fed’s hand is limited when it comes to stock markets moves, and the volatility which we saw last week could resume at any time.

There were no surprises from British inflation numbers on Tuesday. CPI, the primary gauge of consumer spending, was unchanged at 3.0% in January. CPI has hovered around the 3% level since August, well above the BoE target of 2.0%. Wage growth has not kept up with the brisk clip of inflation, putting a further squeeze on the British consumer. This could dampen consumer spending, a key driver of the economy. High inflation is putting pressure on the Bank of England to raise interest rates, and last week the Bank said that it was considering faster and larger rate increases than it had projected back in November. Many analysts have circled May as the date of the next rate increase.

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