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Sterling tops $1.30 at 6-week high, posts best quarter in 2 years
June 30, 2017 / 8:17 AM / 3 months ago

Sterling tops $1.30 at 6-week high, posts best quarter in 2 years

* Graphic: sterling and gilt yields bit.ly/2dgAXn1

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2017 tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

* Graphic: Trade-weighted sterling since Brexit vote tmsnrt.rs/2hwV9Hv

By Jemima Kelly

LONDON, June 30 (Reuters) - Sterling hit a six-week high above $1.30 on Friday, close to its highest levels in nine months, on bets that British interest rates could be hiked in the coming months.

The pound has risen around 3.5 percent against the dollar since the start of April -- its best quarterly performance in two years and its second straight quarter of gains after six successive losses.

On a trade-weighted basis, too, sterling was on track for its best performance since the second quarter of 2015.

Sterling has benefited over the quarter from a dollar weakened by the fading of the “Trumpflation trade”, with investors disappointed that U.S. President Donald Trump was not so far following through with policies that would boost growth and inflation.

It has also been boosted by rising expectations that monetary policy could be tightened. It was given a significant lift this week when Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said a rise in rates was likely to be needed as the economy came closer to running at full capacity, and that the Bank would debate this in the coming months.

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s winning of backing for her policy programme on Thursday -- albeit with a slender parliamentary majority - was also seen as a positive by investors.

“With UK domestic political uncertainty now dissipating somewhat, the focus is likely to turn to headlines surrounding the Brexit negotiations, as well as monetary policy developments,” said IronFX analyst Charalambos Pissouros.

“In our view, the short-term outlook for sterling is cautiously positive, mainly due to all of the attention a potential rate hike by the BoE has attracted recently. Further signs in the next weeks that a policy move may be on the cards this year could work in favour of the pound.”

British GDP and current account balance data was due at 0830 GMT. (Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

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