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Sterling hits nine month high against US dollar

Published:  08 November, 2010

Sterling strengthened to a nine month high against the US dollar last week helped by the Bank of England's decision to keep interest rates and UK Quantitative Easing on hold.

Sterling strengthened to a nine month high against the US dollar last week helped by the Bank of England's decision to keep interest rates and UK Quantitative Easing on hold.

Currency Rates

EURO/GBP - 1.157
US$/GBP - 1.615
CHF/GBP - 1.558
CAN$/GBP - 1.619
AUS$/GBP - 1.594
ZAR/GBP - 11.039
JPY/GBP - 131.07
HKD/GBP - 12.524
NZD/GBP - 2.043
SEK/GBP - 10.720
US$/EURO - 1.396
HUF/GBP - 318.15

It was also helped by a run of better than expected data.

The pound jumped to $1.6297/£1 and gained back lost ground against the euro hitting a high of €1.1448/£1. The Bank's decision not to make any changes was in stark contrast to the USA, where the Fed announced an additional $600bn of further asset purchases in an attempt to jump start the ailing recovery over there. Better than expected services, manufacturing, house price and producer price inflation data all helped give sterling a boost and keep the pound above $1.60/£1 over the weekend. It is a relatively quiet day for data in the UK today, so call in to speak to take advantage of better US dollar prices, as we are likely to see sterling fall off in the next few months as the impact of the coalition's spending cuts take effect.

In the Euro zone, last week the European Central Bank kept interest rates on hold at 1% as expected and ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet made no major announcements regarding future interest rate policy. Over the weekend, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou ruled out calling a snap parliamentary election after winning enough support in local elections to decide that he could push ahead with the radical austerity programme. The threat of a snap election barely a year after coming to power had unsettled markets and the decision saw an early boost for the euro in Asia, but since then, underlying uncertainty has returned to see the euro flagging in early trading on Monday.

In the USA, the US dollar had a week falling against all major currencies. The Federal Reserve's plan to buy $600bn worth of government bonds was met positively by the markets. By purchasing government bonds, the Federal Reserve has pushed returns on those bonds down, driving investors to seek returns elsewhere. As a result, there is likely to be a return to 'carry trading' - where investors borrow cheap US dollars and invest in higher risk investments, such as commodities, emerging markets etc. As a result, the US dollar is set to weaken further. In terms of data, it is a relatively quiet day for releases.

Elsewhere, the Australian dollar hit a 28 year high against the US dollar following the Fed decision last week. Data released today showed that the number of job advertisements in Australia rose 0.6% in October - the smallest increase in 6 months. This may prove to mute the outlook for the Australian dollar as slower hiring conditions impact the economy further down the road.

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