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Cable loses traction after upside rejection, little help from upbeat UK retail sales

Cable is standing at the back foot in early Friday’s trading after hitting new highest since early February on Thursday but failing to sustain post-BOE gains.
The Bank of England raised its interest rates by 25 basis points, in line with expectations, after unexpected inflation rise in February shifted earlier 50/50 split on rate outlook, to decision for 0.25% hike.

However, BOE’s 7/2 vote split and subsequent comments, in which policymakers said that further hikes would directly depend on evidence of more persistent pressure, were mainly seen by markets as dovish.

This tempered immediate market reaction, however, supportive factor for pound could be diverging inflation values, as US inflation remains in a downward trajectory for now, while Britain’s inflation rose again after easing in past couple of months.

If the gap widens, this would prompt the BOE to remain on hiking track, and offer support to sterling, while the US central bank already signaled it is likely close to the end of its policy tightening campaign.

Today’s better than expected UK retail sales data, which showed monthly retail sales jumping well above forecast in February and returning to pre-pandemic levels, while annualized figure signaled much lower than expected drop, may offer temporary support.

Technical view shows developing negative signals on daily chart, highlighted by long upper shadows on candles of past two days, which point to strong offers and warn of stall.

In addition, double failure to clearly break above Fibo barrier at 1.2295 (76.4% retracement of 1.2447/1.1802) is generating another negative signal – a bull-trap.

Contributing to negative near-term outlook is fading bullish momentum, as well as south-heading stochastic, which emerged from overbought territory, while  today’s daily Ichimoku cloud twist, is also expected to be magnetic for fresh bears.

On the other hand, daily moving averages are still in full bullish setup and underpin the action for now.
The larger uptrend from 1.1802 (Mar 8 low) is intact, pointing to bullish scenario in which current pullback should be contained by strong supports at 1.2200 zone (broken Fibo 61.8% of 1.2447/1.1802, reinforced by rising 20-d moving average) to keep bulls in play and within already established consolidation range, ahead of fresh push higher.

Conversely, loss of 1.2200 handle would put bulls on hold and risk deeper pullback towards pivotal support at 1.2136 (Fibo 38.2% retracement of 1.1802/1.2343 rally).

Markets focus UK Mar PMI data, due today, which should provide fresh signals.

Res: 1.2295; 1.2343; 1.2402; 1.2447
Sup: 1.2200; 1.2150; 1.2136; 1.2085