Fed tapering intentions muddy USDGBP outlook
Bank of England governor Mark Carney has a problem. He wants to talk interest rates into staying at low levels, but is doing so against a backdrop of the US Federal Reserve quantitative easing tapering intentions. If he really is committed to this course of action it may mean having to take actions that will be bearish for GBPUSD.
Mark Carney's big idea for the Bank of England's monetary policy is to offer forward guidance on interest rates giving businesses and households an assurance that the cost of money will remain low for years. This is designed to give those sectors more confidence to invest and therefore stimulate economic activity.
But it hasn't worked so far. UK government bond yields have instead taken their cue from US Treasuries, which have been rising on the prospect of the US Federal Reserve slowly withdrawing its $85 billion a month bond buying programme.
GBPUSD support zones around 1.5400. Resistance clustered around 1.5700
UK monetary policy finely balanced
The UK economy has had a few good months and if the recovery is sustainable then it may be able to absorb higher 'real' interest rates and therefore no intervention might be needed from the Bank of England. For GBPUSD that's a neutral to bullish scenario.
On the other hand if the recovery turns out to be little more than a mirage, and the Fed does go ahead with tapering, then the Bank of England will have to do more than just talking, it will have to act. Under those circumstances it is likely to unleash more quantitative easing to drive down bond yields, which influences the cost of credit to the rest of the economy.
The next few months will be crucial for GBPUSD as it becomes evident whether or not the UK's economic recovery is sustained and ditto the US one, which will dictate if Fed tapering goes ahead or not.
The other issue for GBPUSD is Carney himself. He's new and the forex markets are yet to get used to his style and while they're figuring him out a certain amount of uncertainty will linger.