Forex Currencies: The GBP/USD
  1. Forex Currencies: Introduction
  2. Forex Currencies: Trading Strategies
  3. Forex Currencies: Ways To Trade
  4. Forex Currencies: The Four Major Pairs
  5. Forex Currencies: The EUR/USD
  6. Forex Currencies: The USD/JPY
  7. Forex Currencies: The GBP/USD
  8. Forex Currencies: The USD/CHF
  9. Forex Currencies: Commodity Pairs (USD/CAD, USD/AUD, USD/NZD)
  10. Forex Currencies: Currency Cross Rates
  11. Forex Currencies: Emerging Market Currencies
  12. Forex Currencies: Conclusion

Forex Currencies: The GBP/USD

By Brian Perry

Although it is small in terms of land mass, the economy of the United Kingdom (U.K.) is prosperous. The British (U.K.) pound sterling (or pound) plays an important role in the international financial markets; therefore, investors may want to consider trading it in a pair against the U.S. dollar.

The Economy Of The United Kingdom
For more than a century, the United Kingdom was the most powerful nation in the world. The U.K.'s economy was the world's largest, and the small island nation dominated international trade. During this time, the British pound served as the world's reserve currency. Following the World War I and II, the United Kingdom entered into a period of relative decline as the United States ascended to the position of the world's dominant economic power. The U.K.'s growth also stagnated as heavy government regulation and rigid labor markets impeded economic activity.

However, the U.K. remained reasonably prosperous, and since the 1980s, the country has regained much of its previously lost economic vitality. This rise has coincided with the U.K.'s enhanced reputation as a center for global finance. As U.K. and expatriate bankers have flocked to London to seek their fortunes, the financial sector has become a more important part of the U.K.'s overall economy. In fact, by some measures, financial services make up more than 10% of the U.K.'s total economic output. Therefore, the direction of the financial markets and the strength of the financial sector play a large role in determining the health of the U.K. economy.

The British (U.K.) Pound Sterling
Although the U.K. is a member of the European Union, the country remains outside the eurozone (the European Monetary Union) and maintains its own currency, the British pound sterling (known as the pound).

Before the U.S. dollar became the world's reserve currency, the British pound served that role for more than a century. The pound remains an important currency and a popular trading vehicle for traders of all types. The U.S. dollar and the pound are actively traded between each other, and the pair has earned a special nickname among traders, who call it "the cable" in reference to the time when bid and ask quotes were transferred between New York and London via underwater cables across the Atlantic. (For more on trading the GBP, see Top 8 Most Tradable Currencies.)

Trading the British Pound/U.S. Dollar
The British pound/U.S. dollar pair is one of the most liquid in the currency market. Bid-ask spreads are tight, and arbitrage opportunities are unlikely to exist. However, the liquidity of the pair combined with the availability of trading instruments makes the British pound/U.S. dollar an excellent choice for all types of currency traders.

As with the euro/U.S. dollar, the most important factor in determining the relationship between the U.S. dollar and the British pound is the relative strength of the countries' respective economies. When U.S. economic performance is stronger than the U.K.'s, the dollar usually strengthens against the pound. When the U.K.'s economy outperforms that of the U.S., the dollar generally weakens against the pound. This relative strength is often reflected in domestic interest rates, so traders should look carefully at the relationship between U.S. and U.K. interest rates. Because both the U.S. and the U.K. boast very large financial hubs, the performance of the countries' financial sectors and financial markets can also be important in explaining relative currency movements.

One unique aspect of trading the British pound is that there is often conjecture that the U.K. may choose to join the eurozone (or European Monetary Union, known as the EMU). If this were to happen, the U.K. would have to give up the pound and use only the euro. It is generally believed that if the U.K. were to join the EMU, it would first need to devalue the pound. Therefore, when U.K. politicians are speaking in favor of joining the EMU, the pound typically depreciates; when U.K. politicians speak against joining the EMU and in support of keeping an independent currency regime, the pound typically strengthens.

Forex Currencies: The USD/CHF

  1. Forex Currencies: Introduction
  2. Forex Currencies: Trading Strategies
  3. Forex Currencies: Ways To Trade
  4. Forex Currencies: The Four Major Pairs
  5. Forex Currencies: The EUR/USD
  6. Forex Currencies: The USD/JPY
  7. Forex Currencies: The GBP/USD
  8. Forex Currencies: The USD/CHF
  9. Forex Currencies: Commodity Pairs (USD/CAD, USD/AUD, USD/NZD)
  10. Forex Currencies: Currency Cross Rates
  11. Forex Currencies: Emerging Market Currencies
  12. Forex Currencies: Conclusion
RELATED TERMS
  1. Purchasing Power Parity - PPP

    An economic theory that estimates the amount of adjustment needed ...
  2. Contagion

    The spread of market changes or disturbances from one region ...
  3. Currency

    Currency is a generally accepted form of money, including coins ...
  4. Stock Market Crash

    A rapid and often unanticipated drop in stock prices.
  5. Regional Asset Liquidation Agreement (RALA)

    An agreement between an asset manager and the Federal Deposit ...
  6. Transfer Risk

    The risk that a local currency cannot be converted into the currency ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. What is arbitrage?

    Arbitrage is basically buying in one market and simultaneously selling in another, profiting from a temporary difference. ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Which mutual funds made money in 2008?

    Out of the 2,800 mutual funds that Morningstar, Inc., the leading provider of independent investment research in North America, ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What are the goals of covered interest arbitrage?

    The goals of covered interest arbitrage include enabling investors to trade volatile currency pairs without risk as well ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Do negative externalities affect financial markets?

    In economics, a negative externality happens when a decision maker does not pay all the costs for his actions. Economists ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What is the difference between disposable and discretionary income?

    According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, or BEA, disposable income is the amount of money an individual takes home after ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What are the major laws (acts) regulating financial institutions that were created ...

    Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, in conjunction with Congress, signed into law several major legislative responses ... Read Full Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Inverted Yield Curve

    An interest rate environment in which long-term debt instruments have a lower yield than short-term debt instruments of the ...
  2. Socially Responsible Investment - SRI

    An investment that is considered socially responsible because of the nature of the business the company conducts. Common ...
  3. Presidential Election Cycle (Theory)

    A theory developed by Yale Hirsch that states that U.S. stock markets are weakest in the year following the election of a ...
  4. Super Bowl Indicator

    An indicator based on the belief that a Super Bowl win for a team from the old AFL (AFC division) foretells a decline in ...
  5. Flight To Quality

    The action of investors moving their capital away from riskier investments to the safest possible investment vehicles. This ...
Trading Center