The GBP/JPY cross remains under intense selling pressure for the third straight day and plunges to over a four-month low, around mid-157.00s during the mid-European session on Friday.
The British pound continues with its relative underperformance amid the worsening outlook for the UK economy, which, in turn, is seen weighing heavily on the GBP/JPY cross. The fears were fueled by the disappointing release of the flash PMI prints, which showed that the downturn in British businesses steepened in September. Adding to this, a survey from the Confederation of British Industry revealed that the retail balance fell to -20% in September from +37% in August.
The selling bias around sterling picks up pace after the new UK government unveiled a radical economic plan in a bid to boost growth. Finance Minister Kwasi Kwarteng announced reductions in the top rate of income tax, national insurance, and stamp duty worth £45bn. The stimulus will be financed in large part by selling gilts, raising concerns over the cost of the government’s borrowing plans and triggering a sharp sell-off in the UK government debt market.
The spillover effect takes its toll on the global risk sentiment, which is evident from a sea of red across the equity markets. This comes a day after Japanese authorities intervened in the market for the first time since 1998 to stem the rapid decline in the domestic currency, which boosts the JPY's relative safe-haven status against its British counterpart. This was seen as another factor contributing to the heavily offered tone surrounding the GBP/JPY cross.
That said, extremely oversold conditions on intraday charts hold back traders from placing fresh bearish bets and assist spot prices to bounce back above the 158.00 mark. Nevertheless, the GBP/JPY cross remains on track to end the day deep in the red and record losses for the second successive week. This might have already set the stage for a further downfall towards the May monthly swing low, around the 155.60 region.
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