Monday, November 20, 2017
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Value of Sterling at Near Five-Week High

Sterling hit a new five-week high against the US dollar on Friday and was almost holding its value today at the rate of $1.2921 as markets remained upbeat about the potential for a near-term rate hike by the Bank of England.

Comments by Bank of England Governor Mark Carney last week boosted markets with investors' frenzied speculation of an imminent rate hike from the bank helping to strengthen the pound.

Some analysts are predicting that a rate hike could come as early as August when the bank's monetary policy committee next meets, with Scotiabank economist, Alan Clarke suggesting that an "August rate hike is a 50-50 bet".

However on the negative side was the confirmation that the UK economy only grew at a rate of 0.2 per cent at the start of the year, down from 0.7 per cent in the previous quarter.

The final reading by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that GDP was largely slowed by a downturn in consumer spending as rapidly rising inflation and weak wage growth forced more households to tighten their budgets.

On the brighter side, strong economic data over the last three months has prompted most analysts to forecast that growth will rebound in the second quarter.


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