Sterling steadied as traders wait for service sector data due on Wednesday and ponder whether any positive impact from expected higher interest rates on the British currency has run its course.
Amid fears that more expected rate hikes by the Bank of England (BoE) could slow the British economy further, traders are awaiting PMI service data due on Wednesday to gauge business sentiment.
A survey showed on Monday that the pace of decline in Britain's manufacturing sector steepened in June and optimism faded despite weakening price pressures.
The S&P Global/CIPS UK Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell to 46.5 from 47.1 in May, its lowest reading this year and one of the weakest since the 2008-09 financial crisis, but was revised up from an earlier preliminary "flash" reading of 46.2.
The BoE is watching economic indicators closely as it judges how many more interest rate hikes are needed to control Britain's rate of inflation.
The central bank raised interest rates by half a point two weeks ago to 5%, and markets expect it to deliver an identical increase when it meets on Aug. 3.
Money markets are pricing in that BoE rates will peak only in March 2024 at 6.28%
A month ago, the expectation was for a peak around 5.3% by the end of this year, with the first-rate cut following a few months later. Traders now expect no rate cuts until May next year.
Sterling is set to lack fresh direction given the absence of major UK data releases and in light of the U.S. holiday.
That said, we maintain the view that positioning in the GBP has been looking stretched and that cable could struggle to surpass recent highs.