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Sterling hit a 2-1/2 month high against the euro on Thursday, with worries about the euro zone debt crisis and rising Spanish borrowing costs outweighing a drop in UK factory output.

As expected, Bank of England policymakers voted to keep interest rates on hold at 0.5 percent and the quantitative easing total unchanged at 325 billion pounds.

The unchanged policy course was widely anticipated by the market and meant investors were more focused on developments in the euro zone. Concerns about Spain's ability to meet its budget targets sent the Spanish yield spread over German Bunds to its widest level since November.

The euro hit a session low of 82.38 pence against the pound, its lowest level since January, with strong support seen around the Jan. 9 low of 82.22 pence. There was significant buying interest from companies reported around 82.00 pence.

The US dollar rallied broadly last week after minutes from the Federal Reserve's March meeting on Tuesday showed only two of the 10 policy-setting committee members saw the case for additional monetary stimulus in the light of an improving economy. The dollar was also boosted by a government report showing U.S. jobless claims fell to the lowest level in four years. The pound fell 0.4 percent to $1.5824.

With U.S. Treasury yields rising on speculation the Fed may not opt for another round of asset purchasing, some analysts said the minutes of this month's BoE meeting, released later in April would be more significant for the pound.

At 9.00am (BST):
GBP/EUR 1.2125
GBP/USD 1.5866
EUR/USD 1.3083


Sterling came under pressure early on Thursday after data showed a surprise fall in UK manufacturing output that slumped by 1.0 percent in February after a January's figures were revised downwards, giving an annual decline of 1.4 percent. It was the biggest monthly fall in almost a year and confounded economists' forecasts of a 0.1 percent rise.

That said, strong UK PMI numbers contrasted with euro zone PMI surveys which have edged below 50, marking a contraction in activity and fanning demand to buy the pound against the euro.

News out this week:
Looking to the week ahead, there are a series of key economic data releases from China, while Italian bond auctions and euro zone industrial production data will be important for EUR prospects.
In the UK, Retail Sales data for March is released on Wednesday, whilst Thursday and Friday see the release of international trade and PPI numbers.
In the U.S. data due for release on Tuesday includes February wholesale inventories, at 1400 GMT.

Tuesday 10 April 2012, 09:28am

Sterling hit a 2-1/2 month high against the euro on Thursday morning, buoyed by improving UK data that contrasted with a struggling euro zone economy, with investors also looking ahead to a Bank of England rate decision later in the session.

Despite this week's marked improvement in UK PMI data, the BoE's Monetary Policy Committee is expected to keep rates on hold at a record low of 0.5 percent. The total amount of the bank's asset purchases are aimed at stimulating growth and will keep the forecast unchanged at 325 billion pounds.

The euro fell 0.1 percent on the day against the pound to 82.61 pence; this was its lowest level since mid-January.

Market players reported an option barrier at 82.50 pence and said that the Jan. 16 low of 82.55 pence would offer strong support to the euro.

Analysts said further gains in the pound would likely be limited ahead of the BoE decision. Although signs of a modest economic recovery have reduced the need for more quantitative easing, this would involve printing more money and can crimp demand for a currency, policymakers would be cautious of choking off uncertain growth by tightening policy.

At 9.15(BST):
GBP/EUR 1.2090
GBP/USD 1.5894
EUR/USD 1.3145


Strong UK PMI numbers this week fuelled hopes that the UK could avoid slipping into recession and contrasted with euro zone PMI surveys which have edged below 50, marking a reduction in activity.

Investors' next focus is UK industrial and manufacturing data at 0830 GMT, ahead of the BoE rate decision at 1100 GMT. Analysts said weaker than expected numbers could dismiss some of the recent assurance and undermine the pound.

Sterling was also close to flat against the dollar at $1.5885, slipping further away from Monday's peak of $1.6063, its highest since mid-November.

The dollar has rallied broadly this week after minutes from the Federal Reserve's March meeting on Tuesday showed only two of the 10 policy-setting committee members saw the case for additional monetary stimulus in the light of an improving economy.

News to watch out for:
UK

British industrial output and manufacturing output numbers for February will be released at 08:30 GMT, with a month-on-month raised forecast of 0.3 percent and 0.1 percent respectively.
US
The U.S. Challenger layoffs report for March will be released at 1130 GMT, followed by the latest U.S. weekly initial jobless claims at 1230 GMT, two more pointers towards the influential March U.S. jobs report that is due Friday.

        

Thursday 05 April 2012, 09:51am

Sterling rose against the euro on Wednesday and could be set for further gains if a survey on the UK's heavyweight services sector dampens fears of a UK recession, this would highlight a contrast between an improving British economy and a struggling euro zone.

The pound slipped against a broadly firmer dollar; however after Federal Reserve minutes diluted the chances of more stimulus.

The UK purchasing managers' survey on services is due at 08:28 GMTand a strong reading could boost the pound. It would follow PMI surveys on manufacturing and construction this week which showed surprising strength.

The euro was down 0.2 percent at 83.02 pence, edging close to the mid-March low of 82.83 pence. Also in focus on Wednesday will be a European Central Bank interest rate decision and news conference.The ECB is expected to leave rates unchanged but the euro could be vulnerable to any hints of further easing to support a flagging euro zone economy.

RBS entered a multi-month euro/sterling trade at 83.30 pence last week, targeting a fall to 80.00 pence, with a stop at 85.10 pence.

At 9.15(BST):
GBP/EUR 1.2044
GBP/USD 1.5896
EUR/USD 1.3200

Services PMI is expected to dip to 53.4 in March from 53.8 in February. However, this would still leave it comfortably above the 50 level marking growths in the sector, unlike similar surveys for the euro zone which have edged into contraction territory.

The pound was also helped by an unexpectedly strong housing survey from mortgage lender Halifax on Wednesday, this showed price rose 2.2 percent in March, confounding forecasts for a 0.3 percent dip against the dollar, however, the pound was down 0.25 percent at $1.5872, slipping further away from Monday's peak of $1.6063, and it’s highest since mid-November.

The U.S. dollar gained broadly after minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve's March meeting, it showed only two of the 10 policy-setting committee members saw the case for additional monetary stimulus in the light of an improving economy.

Further falls would see the pound drop towards its 200-day moving average at $1.5849 and then the 100-week moving average of $1.5804. It has struggled to maintain a move late last week above the 200-week average, currently just below $1.60.

News to watch out for:
US
The U.S. ADP national employment report will be released at 12:15 GMT An indicatortowards Friday's always important U.S. non-farm payrolls, followed by the March U.S. ISM non-manufacturing index at 1400 GMT.

Wednesday 04 April 2012, 09:46am

Tags: currency, dollar exchange rates, dollar rates, economic data, European Central Bank, exchange rates, foreign exchange

Sterling inched up against the dollar on Tuesday and stayed close to four month highs as upbeat manufacturing data tempered concerns about a recession in Britain.

Data released Monday showed UK manufacturing unexpectedly picked up in March, increasing at its fastest pace in 10 months and confounding analysts' forecasts for a slowdown.

Sterling was up slightly on Tuesday against the dollar at $1.6035, within range of Monday's $1.6063 peak, its highest level since mid-November 2011.

Market players said sterling's recent bullish tone was also being determined by expectations for further economic stimulus in the United States. Such stimuli have weighed mostly on the dollar.

A strong run against the dollar helped the pound to reach a 13-month high on Monday of 82.0 and the technical outlook remained positive.

The rally in sterling has come in despite concerns about the UK economy, The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said last week it expected the growth in the UK to contract by 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011.

At 9.15(BST):
GBP/EUR 1.2012
GBP/USD 1.6027
EUR/USD 1.3346


Sluggish growth has already forced the Bank of England into pumping 325 billion pounds of stimulus in the shape of quantitative easing into the economy. The euro edged up 0.1 percent against the pound to 83.20 pence, holding above last month's low of 82.83. Stop-loss sell orders were reported below 82.80.

News to watch out for:
UK

The UK Market CIPS construction PMI for March is due for publication at 0830. GMT is expected to have risen to 52.40 from 51.80 in February.
US
In the United States, new orders for factory goods are due out at 1400 GMT. Our forecasts have risen 1.5 percent in February after recording a 1 percent drop in the previous month.

Tuesday 03 April 2012, 10:13am

Sterling rose to its highest in more than four months against a weak dollar on Friday, with the U.S. currency under pressure on month and quarter-end rebalancing flows combined with expectations U.S. monetary policy will stay ultra-loose.

Technical analysts said sterling's break above its 200-week moving average against the dollar for the first time since August 2008 could be a bullish signal, though a weekly close above that level at $1.6014 would be needed for confirmation.

Sterling rose to $1.6037, its strongest since November 14, and was last trading at $1.6000, up 0.3 percent for the day. Traders reported a large option barrier at $1.6050 and stops above that level. For the quarter the UK currency in on track for its best performance since end-2010. The pound was also helped by month-end flows, which analysts said were expected to be broadly negative for the dollar.

Further support came from expectations that Gaz de France's bid to buy the remainder of the UK's International Power for 6 billion pounds could lead to the French firm needing to buy large quantities of sterling.

Against the euro however, sterling's gains lagged with the single currency slightly higher at 83.47 pence, right in the middle of this month's 82.83/84.24 range. The common currency held its ground after euro zone finance ministers agreed on Friday on a temporary increase in the capacity of their bailout funds to prevent a new flare-up of Europe's sovereign debt crisis, although analysts said markets may judge it too small to be convincing.

At 9.15(BST):
GBP/EUR 1.1991
GBP/USD 1.6033
EUR/USD 1.4443


Analysts expected problems in euro zone debt markets to return soon with deep spending cuts due to austerity measures likely to hurt the economy and weigh on the common currency.

So far the pound has been able to shrug off concerns over the health of the British economy, expected to remain weak through 2012 and beyond - something that could force the Bank of England to increase its asset purchase programme.

News to watch out for:
UK

This morning’s trade saw the pound trading 0.2% up on the day against the dollar at $1.6042, a four and a half month high against the greenback, with traders citing buying by model funds ahead of UK manufacturing PMI data. With little other domestic data due in the fore-shortened pre-Easter holiday trading week, the main focus will be on the latest monetary policy decisions from both the Bank of England and the European Central Bank on Thursday, although no changes are expected from either.
US
March's U.S. ISM survey and February construction spending data will both be released at 1400 GMT on Monday. Investors will be focused on the March U.S. jobs report, although the release comes on Friday when both U.S. and European markets will be shut.

Monday 02 April 2012, 09:27am

On Thursday, sterling hit its highest level in more than four months versus a broadly weak dollar on Friday, with the U.S. currency under pressure on month and quarter-end rebalancing flows combined with expectations U.S. monetary policy will stay soft for longer than previously thought.

Technical analysts said sterling's break above its 200-week moving average for the first time since August 2008 could be a significant bullish signal, though a weekly close above that level at $1.6014 would be needed for confirmation.

This week's dovish comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke also continued to dent the greenback which slid to one-month lows versus a basket of currencies.

Sterling rose to $1.6034, its strongest since November 14, to trade with gains of around 0.4 percent for the day. Traders said large stop-loss buy orders were hit on the break of $1.6025, with offers cited at $1.6050.

Further support came from expectations that Gaz de France's bid to buy the remainder of the UK's International Power for 6 billion pounds could lead to it needing to buy large quantities of sterling.

The pound was able to shrug off concerns over the health of the British economy, expected to remain weak through 2012 and beyond - something which could force the Bank of England to increase its asset purchase programme to stimulate growth.

Data released overnight showed British consumer confidence unexpectedly fell to a three-month low in March as Britons grew increasingly worried about the outlook for their finances and for the economy as a whole, denting hopes of a consumer-fuelled recovery.

The euro was trading close to flat against sterling at 83.35 pence at the close in London, in the middle of this month's 82.83/84.24 range. Analysts still expected problems in euro zone debt markets and a flagging economy to hurt the common currency.

At 9.30 (BST):
GBP/EUR 1.1988
GBP/USD 1.5990
EUR/USD 1.3337

News to watch out for today:
US

February U.S. personal income and consumption numbers are due at 1230 GMT, March Chicago PMI at 1345 GMT, and the final reading of the Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index at 1355 GMT.

Friday 30 March 2012, 09:55am

After a great start to the week, sterling hit a two-week low against the euro and fell versus the dollar on yesterday, coming under pressure after GDP data unexpectedly showed the UK economy had contracted more than previously thought in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Positive signs of recovery in the first quarter of this year were expected to limit the pound's losses, however. Some analysts said fears of a fresh flare up in the euro zone debt crisis could see the euro currency fall against sterling in coming weeks and months.

UK gross domestic product contracted by 0.3 percent between October and December, with annual growth at 0.5 percent, against expectations for an unrevised 0.2 percent fall on the quarter and 0.7 percent growth year-on-year.

On the back of this data, the euro hit a session high of 83.95 pence, after breaking above resistance at its March 21 high of 83.72, with traders earlier citing reported U.S. and Swiss buying of euros versus sterling.

The euro stopped just shy of its 100-day moving average at 83.99 pence, a break of which would be needed before it can target the mid-March high of 84.24 pence. It was last up 0.45 percent on the day at 83.83 pence.

Bank of England Governor Mervyn King on Tuesday highlighted the hurdles facing the UK economy, arguing that Britain faces a long road back to pre-crisis economic growth rates as banks are still reducing their balance sheets.

At 9.10 (BST)
GBP/EUR 1.1935
GBP/USD 1.5916

EUR/USD 1.3330
The pound fell 0.6 percent to $1.5846 against the dollar. Traders said stop-loss sell orders were triggered on the break below $1.5920 following the GDP data, and further stops accelerated selling as sterling dropped below its 200-day moving average around $1.5850. The pound pulled away from highs hit on Tuesday when it briefly surpassed the $1.60 to touch $1.6002, its strongest in more than four months.

Looking at the technical’s, some traders said sterling could struggle to make a sustained break above $1.60, given tough chart resistance around $1.6014, the 200-week moving average. Analysts said in the past any breaks through this barrier prompted sharp moves for the pound.

News to watch out for today:
UK

The Bank of England will today announce consumer credit data at 9.30 (BST) expectation is unchanged at GBP0.9bn
US
At 1.30pm (BST), final Q4 data is released, with analysts loving for a rise to 3.2% from 3.0%

Thursday 29 March 2012, 09:32am

On Tuesday sterling rose to its highest level in more than four months versus the dollar, with the U.S. currency burdened by increasing chances of more U.S. monetary easing and the pound able to shake off the negative effects of a shaky economic outlook in the UK.

A survey by the CBI on yesterday showed that while UK retail sales unexpectedly steadied in March, the outlook was poor amid high fuel prices and slow wage growth.

The dollar was under pressure and struggled near a four-week low against a basket of currencies, having been hit hard by dovish comments from Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke who left the door ajar for more monetary stimulus in coming months. During the afternoon, the US dollar was helped by US home prices data showing further signs of stabilization as US consumer confidence held steady.

GBP briefly hit $1.6002, its highest since Nov. 14, as traders said demand from a major U.S. bank triggered an option barrier at $1.6000. Tough resistance was seen at its 200-week moving average of $1.6014 before dropping back to $1.5980 later in the afternoon. The last time sterling broke past its 200-week moving average in the past decade, it went on to post excellent gains.

Bernanke said on Monday further improvements in the U.S. labour market would require faster economic growth, prompting dollar bulls to cut long positions in the greenback. More QE from the Fed would usually lead to more selling in the dollar.

At 9.20 GMT:
GBP/EUR 1.1919
GBP/USD 1.5933
EUR/USD 1.3368


The euro was down 0.2 percent for the day at 83.43 pence against the pound, with offers cited around 83.70. It has stayed below its March peak of 84.24 pence which is seen as strong resistance by many.

In the UK, meanwhile, Bank of England policymaker David Miles said on Monday Britain's economy had effectively stalled, with growth rates near zero over the last six months, keeping alive slim chances of another round of quantitative easing.

While another bout of easing is uncertain in coming months, the quarterly Bank of England bulletin released on Tuesday suggested that asset purchases by central banks have helped economies weather their crises. BoE Governor Mervyn King said on Tuesday he did not know whether more QE would be required

News to watch out for:
UK

Final Q4 GDP is released at 9.30GMT (this is generally expected to be unrevised at -0.2%)
US
Durable goods data is released at 13.30GMT (this is expected to increase by 3% in February)

Wednesday 28 March 2012, 09:35am

On Monday, sterling hit its highest in more than three weeks against a broadly weaker dollar and looked set to gain further after Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke sounded a note of caution on the U.S. economy.

Bernanke said further improvements in the U.S. labour market would require faster economic growth, prompting some dollar bulls to cut long positions in the dollar. Whilst he offered no indication that the Fed is likely to embark on a third round of quantative easing, Bernanke also made it clear that the Fed is in no rush to reverse course after responding aggressively to the global economic slowdown.

The pound rallied over 1% against the greenback to reach a 1.5973 peak before falling back to 1.590 in overnight trade. This break could prompt a test of $1.60, the level that has capped sterling gains since mid-November.

On the downside, traders cited stops around $1.58 and bids at $1.5790. Technical analysts said a break below the March trough of $1.56 would put the $1.5234 January low in focus as the next target.

The Euro also saw gains of 1.25% against the dollar, rising from a low of 1.3197 to a 1.3362 high. GBP/EUR continued to trade within a tight 40pip range trading around the 1.1965 level in early trade

At 9.20am GBP:
GBP/EUR 1.1973
GBP/USD 1.5984
EUR/USD 1.3348

A final reading of UK gross domestic product for the fourth quarter of 2011 on Tuesday is expected to be unchanged at minus 0.2 percent.

In the medium term, market players said sterling's direction was likely to be determined by speculation over whether the Bank of England will signal another round of asset purchasing to boost the economy.

News to watch out for today:
UK

The CBI publishes its monthly distributive trades survey at 1000 GMT. The reported sales balance is expected to have fallen to -6 in March from -2 in the previous month.
US
The S&P CaseShiller 20 index for January is due at 1300 GMT, followed by March's consumer confidence index, which is expected to have fallen to 70 from 70.8 in February, at 1400 GMT.

Tuesday 27 March 2012, 10:03am

We’ve done some research to bring you the top places you can get the most out of the Pound Sterling this Christmas.

Topping the list is Turkey, where the Pound will go over 20% further this year than it did last Christmas.

Other noticeable places where the Pound will stretch further include South Africa where you’ll get 15% more Rand this year; in India you will get 11% more rupees, in Poland the Zlotych will now go 10% further as will the Mexican Peso.

Turkey is already a popular holiday destination with the British and every year, Istanbul plays host to one of the biggest New Year’s Eve celebrations in the world. Each year, all eyes turn to the fireworks over the Bosphorus, the 20mile straight that separates Europe and Asia, joining the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara.

Istanbul New Years

In the South West of Turkey, temperatures in December are between 10 and 23 degrees Celsius and easily warm enough to dine outside. As Christmas is not celebrated in Turkey, all amenities are still open as are all the tourist attractions and with minimum queues. You will still find a celebratory atmosphere, Christmas trees and light decorations on the streets, as the build up to New Years is an event in itself in Turkey.

Stephen Heath, FairFX CEO says “This year has seen some major fluctuations in exchange rates and whilst some have levelled over the year, others have significantly weakened meaning the Pound Sterling goes a lot further in some Countries. If people are looking to get away then it is worth looking at which countries can offer you more for your money.”

Thursday 01 December 2011, 09:46am

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