Sterling rises above $1.23 as dollar weakens

Reuters , Tuesday 26 May 2020

Pound Sterling notes
FILE PHOTO: Pound Sterling notes and change are seen inside a cash resgister in a coffee shop in Manchester, Britain, Septem,ber 21, 2018. (Photo: Reuters)
The pound rose against the dollar and euro on Tuesday, going above $1.23 for the first time in 13 days, boosted mainly by improving global risk appetite which saw the dollar fall.

World shares forged ahead and commodity markets drove higher as investors became more optimistic about global economies re-opening. The safe-haven dollar fell around 0.5%.

"Risk is definitely on and that's keeping the dollar on the defensive pretty much across the board," said Jeremy Stretch, head of G10 FX strategy at CIBC Capital Markets.

The pound was also boosted by a Reuters report that the European Union is willing to shift its stance on fisheries in negotiations on Britain's future relationship with the bloc.

"That EU story has helped to encourage the further move to the topside," CIBC's Stretch said.

Against a weaker dollar, the pound was last at a 13-day high of $1.2308, up 0.9% since New York's close. It has lost about 2.6% since its peak at the end of April.

Versus the euro, the pound was last at 89 pence, up around 0.4%, having strengthened overnight before steadying in London trading.

According to weekly futures data, short positions on the pound have increased for the past 11 weeks . The last time the market was this short on the pound was December 2019.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out plans on Monday to ease Britain's coronavirus lockdown, including restrictions on retail, if government tests are met.

But opening up pubs, restaurants and bars is difficult, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said.

The pound is weighed down by Britain's high COVID-19 death rate, the fact that the Bank of England is considering negative interest rates, and Brexit-related risks.

The Bank of England's chief economist said the bank was not yet remotely close to any decision to take interest rates below zero and that some recent economic data was coming in just "a shade better" than a scenario for the economy published by the BoE this month.

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