The Pound Sterling (GBP) is exhibiting limited movement as investors adopt a wait-and-see approach in anticipation of a significant week. The GBP/USD pair is grappling with indecision ahead of the interest rate decisions from both the Bank of England (BoE) and the Federal Reserve (Fed), with expectations leaning towards unchanged rates for the fourth consecutive time.
Analysts predict the BoE to maintain stability, placing a spotlight on the guidance regarding the interest rate outlook for potential market influence. The BoE faces the challenge of balancing domestic and international economic conditions, along with persistent inflationary pressures. The potential prolongation of higher interest rates may impact labor market and demand conditions adversely, while a dovish signal could reignite inflationary concerns.
The broader market sentiment reflects caution due to Middle East tensions and the impending announcement of the Fed’s monetary policy. Investors are closely monitoring whether the Fed, after an extended period of rate-tightening, will opt for a rate cut in either the March or May meeting.
Pound Sterling hovers around 1.2700, with investors awaiting monetary policy decisions from the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.
BoE decision-making is expected to be complex, given the UK’s high inflation and a vulnerable economic outlook. The economy contracted by 0.1% in Q3 2023, and a similar performance is anticipated in Q4 due to businesses hesitating to utilize full capacity or make fresh investments.
The possibility of a technical recession looms if the UK economy contracts consecutively in Q4 2023. BoE policymakers consider core and service inflation, both at 5.1% and 6.4%, respectively, far from the central bank‘s targets.
BoE is widely anticipated to maintain interest rates at 5.25% for the fourth consecutive time on Thursday. The focus will be on whether a dovish guidance is delivered due to weakening demand or if the central bank leans towards restrictive interest rates.
Market sentiment remains subdued as Middle East tensions are digested. The US Dollar Index (DXY) is slightly higher, hovering around 103.50, but is expected to remain lackluster as investors await the Fed policy meeting.
The Fed is also expected to keep interest rates unchanged in the range of 5.25-5.50% for the fourth consecutive time. There is confidence in the market that the Fed will begin reducing interest rates from May amid easing price pressures.
In today’s session, investors are watching the US JOLTS Job Openings data, anticipating approximately 8.75 million jobs posted in December, a slight decrease from 8.79 million in November.