Smart Currency Exchange: Sterling hits two week high against US Dollar [21/02/2011]

Smart Currency Exchange: Sterling hits two week high against US Dollar [21/02/2011]

EURO/GBP – 1.1861
US$/GBP – 1.6231
CHF/GBP – 1.5334
CAN$/GBP – 1.5996
AUS$/GBP – 1.6036
ZAR/GBP – 11.5499
JPY/GBP – 1354.94
HKD/GBP – 12.6372
NZD/GBP – 2.1233
SEK/GBP – 10.4019
US$/EURO – 1.3682

Sterling hit a 2 week high against the US dollar on Friday as retail sales in January came in far higher than expectations. After a disappointing Christmas period, and with January retail sales normally coming in lower, the rise of 1.9% encouraged investors to back the pound. Sterling’s fortunes are very much linked to inflation and interest rate expectations. Higher retail sales figures left many feeling that the Bank of England will need to address the 4% inflation level far sooner than current rhetoric is suggesting. Out this week we have the Bank of England’s minutes that will be closely watched for any hint of timescales for an interest rate hike, so call in now for a live exchange rate.

In the euro zone it was a similar story with the single currency breaking above $1.37 against the US dollar to post the first weekly gain since late January. The euro’s strength came as European Central Bank policymaker Lorenzo Bini Smaghi said that the ECB would hike interest rates if price pressures continued to grow. As in the UK, this saw increased speculation over rate hikes in the region and the single currency strengthened. Out this week we have a wide array of European data so call in now for a live price as we could see some volatility.

In the USA, the US dollar had a poor end to the week, falling against the euro and sterling on interest rate expectations. The US dollar was not helped either by geopolitical concerns in the Middle East, with concerns over Iranian warships in the Suez Canal seeing concern. It is a bank holiday in the USA today, so there was a fair amount of US dollar selling going into the long weekend that also saw the currency weaken. This week sees consumer confidence and home sales figures so get in touch to ensure you are protected.

Elsewhere, China raised the level of required bank reserves to a record 19.5% in order for banks to lock up more cash to combat rapid inflation in the country. It is another move by Beijing to combat inflation and further moves – especially on interest rates are likely to be taken.

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