Pound US Dollar (GBP/USD) exchange rate stumbles on hawkish Fed Powell remarks

Pound US Dollar (GBP/USD) exchange rate softens on latest hawkish Fed comments

The Pound US Dollar (GBP/USD) exchange rate is facing headwinds this morning, as Federal Reserve Chair, Jeremy Powell, continues to push back on  interest rate cut bets.

At the time of writing, GBP/USD is trading at $1.2590, down roughly 0.3% from this morning’s opening rate.

US Dollar (USD) strengthens on hawkish Powell

The US Dollar (USD) is climbing this morning following Powell’s, comments surrounding upcoming interest rate cuts.

The central bank’s chair told ’60 Minutes’ that rates would likely not be cut until inflation was ‘fully under control’.

Powell commented:

‘The danger of moving too soon is that the job’s not quite done, and that the really good readings we’ve had for the last six months somehow turn out not to be a true indicator of where inflation’s heading…

‘We don’t think that’s the case. But the prudent thing to do is to, is to just give it some time and see that the data continue to confirm that inflation is moving down to 2% in a sustainable way.’

This has bolstered the US Dollar this morning as it further dampens expectations for a March rate cut with CME’s FedWatch Tool now reporting almost 85% of market participants believe that rates will remain as they are next month.

Pound (GBP) muted despite better-than-expected PMI’s

The Pound (GBP) is trading sideways against the majority of its peers this morning, despite the UK’s final services PMI for January surpassing expectations.

January’s figure came in at 54.3, up from 53.4 in December and smashing of the preliminary reading of 53.8 and coming in at the highest level in an 8-month period.

S&P Global notes that:

‘The revival in UK service sector performance gained momentum at the start of 2024, with output growth accelerating to its fastest for eight months amid stronger business and consumer spending. New orders have also rebounded this winter as receding recession risks and looser financial conditions led to greater willingness-to-spend among clients.’

However the hotter-than-expected data release, isn’t enough to keep GBP rates afloat this morning, as a downbeat market mood applies pressure to the Pound.

GBP/USD exchange rate forecast: US ISM services PMI to boost USD?

Looking ahead, this afternoon will bring the release of January’s ISM services PMI for the US.

The index is expected to rise from 50.6 in December to 52 last month, should the data confirm growth in the service sector, this may turbocharge USD exchange rates, and in turn dent GBP/USD.

Turning to the Pound, economic data is thin on the ground for much of the week, which will likely leave Sterling trading without a clear trajectory and leaving movement in the currency tied to market risk dynamics.

Should this morning’s anxious market mood prevail, could we see GBP drift lower?

Sarah Ebrahem

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