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GBP/USD Sees Volatility Amid Mixed US and UK Economic Indicators

The GBP/USD pair is experiencing volatility amid conflicting economic indicators. While US Nonfarm Payrolls exceeded forecasts, the UK’s Manufacturing PMI showed contraction. The market anticipates the Federal Reserve to pause rate hikes, contrasting with the Bank of England’s tightening signals. Downside risk exists with strong support at 1.2545, as per UOB analysts.

Key Highlights:

  • GBP/USD trades moderately higher, hovering above the 1.2600 level during the early European session.
  • Upbeat US Nonfarm Payrolls and Manufacturing PMI numbers contrast with weaker UK manufacturing data.
  • Market participants eye the upcoming US ISM Services PMI and BoE decisions for future direction.

The GBP/USD currency pair shows a marginal gain in a volatile trading session, currently positioning itself around 1.2612, up 0.17% for the day. Traders exercise caution as they digest a slate of contrasting economic indicators from both sides of the Atlantic, coupled with a quiet US market due to the Labor Day holiday.

Last week’s US economic indicators surpassed expectations, with Nonfarm Payrolls for August registering 187K, well above the forecasted 170K. The Unemployment Rate also fell notably to 3.8%, against the anticipated 3.5%. Consequently, the CME FedWatch Tool suggests that the Federal Reserve may halt its cycle of rate hikes, with market probability pointing towards no rate increase in September and a reduced chance for November and December.

Conversely, the UK’s manufacturing sector reveals concerning trends. The S&P Global/CIPS Manufacturing PMI for August sank to 43.0 from 45.3 in July. Despite this, traders appear to anticipate a modest 25 basis points rate hike by the Bank of England (BoE) in their upcoming meeting, given recent remarks by BoE Chief Economist Huw Pill on persistently high UK inflation.

Navigating a Complex Trading Landscape

Investors find themselves in a challenging environment as they balance divergent monetary policies and economic signals from the US and the UK. With the absence of significant market movers due to the US holiday, attention now turns to the upcoming US ISM Services PMI, expected to rise to 52.6.

Downside Risks Loom for GBP/USD

By UOB Analysts, Date: September 4, 2023, 08:10

Key Points:

  • GBP/USD faces significant resistance levels, with strong support identified around the 1.2545 mark.
  • Market dynamics have shifted, increasing the downside risks in the short to medium term.

In light of recent price action, UOB analysts underscore that GBP/USD faces increased downside risks. The currency pair, which briefly touched a high of 1.2712 last Friday, retraced sharply to settle around 1.2590. The accelerated decline has intensified the downward momentum, although oversold conditions could limit further losses below 1.2545.

The short to medium-term outlook has turned more bearish, putting earlier bullish projections to rest. However, strong support levels at 1.2500 and 1.2545 could offer a buffer against further depreciation. Any upward shift would require GBP to cross the 1.2680 resistance level, which would signal a fading of the current bearish momentum.

CURRENT TREND: Mixed/Bearish

👉 ENTRY PRICE: 1.2615
STOP LOSS: 1.2640

The currency pair is experiencing a mixed sentiment but leaning towards bearish due to weaker UK economic data. Given the strong support level at 1.2545 (as identified by UOB analysts), entering a sell position seems advisable. The USD also shows strength from recent Nonfarm Payroll data, providing more justification for a bearish view on the pair.


  1. Monitor the pair for an opportune moment to enter a sell position around 1.2615.
  2. Set a tight stop loss at 1.2640 to minimize potential losses.
  3. Aim for a take profit at the strong support level of 1.2545.
  4. Keep an eye on the US ISM Services PMI for August and any unexpected BoE announcements, which could impact the trade.

Final Thoughts:

Given the recent volatile data and divergent economic indicators, traders should adopt a cautious but flexible approach to navigate the uncertainties surrounding the GBP/USD pair. The focus will be on the upcoming economic releases and central bank decisions, as they offer fresh cues for market participants.

Source: Bloomberg, UOB Research, CME FedWatch Tool, S&P Global/CIPS, US Bureau of Labor Statistics