News & Analysis

GBPUSD volatility dominates the mid-week currency charts

Andrew Saks, Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Yesterday's mainstream media reports were awash with non-substantiable claims that the British Pound could rise to a 'three year high' against the US dollar, a guesswork-based consensus that appears to have stemmed from Britain's sudden spending spree as lock-and-key man Boris Johnson allowed some of the businesses that have been closed for a year to reopen, whilst the lingering concern that he may lock them down again is in the back of the buying public's mind.

Hyperbole and exuberism may be a confidence booster in many business scenarios, but in the calculated, facts-and-figures world of currency trading, they are not attributes that often bear fruit.

Indeed, the combination of the sudden resurgence in spending by the British public, not just on retail goods but on large products - car registrations were up by an astonishing 453% in April compared to March this year for example - has led to speculation that the British return to the shops could weigh heavy on the dollar.

What it actually did was cause volatility. This morning, the British Pound began at a very buoyant 1.42 against the Dollar, a height which occurred in February but represents a high point compared to most of the past 12 months, somewhat substantiating yesterday's predictions.

However, by 8.20 UK time, it had gone down to 1.418, and then back up to 1.419 just a few minutes later.

Looking at the movement through a macro chart shows the sudden up and down movements in the course of just a few minutes this morning, perhaps as a result of the combination of the analytical nature of traders who have become used to approaching lockdown-based changes in the market with trepidation in that there may well be a predicted boom now, but it could end with another lockdown, the predictions yesterday in the mainstream news, and the 1.42 high this morning.

These are three factors which when looked at together could create volatility, especially when Britain and its currency is under the global microscope insofar as its government has been one of the world's most fervent lockdown proponents for over a year and talk across the news channels is that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is looking for reasons to extend the restrictions once again past another date which he promised would be the end of them.

Such talk is enough to blunt investor confidence, yet the rally over the last week and the recorded amounts of consumer spending demonstrate that the public has money in its pockets, which is remarkable considering the shutterered businesses and suspended livelihoods that have been absolutely notable for almost a year and a quarter.

It is, however, unusual circumstances and speculation that causes such up and down movements in the market, and that is exactly what is occurring now.

Share article