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Sterling at its highest in 14 months
Thursday 12th April 2012
GBP/EUR – GBP/USD
Sterling rose to its highest in 14 months against a trade-weighted basket of currencies on Wednesday, bolstered by improving UK data, while the pound held near a three-month high against the euro. Worries about the euro zone debt crisis took centre-stage as Spanish 10-year bond yields remained high, prompting investors to switch to the UK currency which is still considered relatively safe in comparison to the common currency. The pound was supported by data that showed British retail sales rose in March at their fastest pace so far this year. The British Retail Consortium said like-for-like retail sales rose by an annual 1.3 percent in value terms, easily beating expectations of a stagnant performance. Analysts are said sterling was also benefiting from safe haven-related flows from the Middle East and this was likely to help it against the euro.
Stocks were higher on Wednesday, but riskier assets have suffered in recent sessions as Spain's funding problems returned to the fore, adding to jitters about the health of the global economy after Friday's disappointing U.S. jobs report. Spain is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. The first years of the EMU crisis were characterized by the strong cross-border holdings of European Government Bonds (EGBs) by national banks. The fear of a contagion and a systemic crisis triggered by a potential sovereign default explained the denial of the solvency crisis in Greece and the painful acceptance and implementation of the PSI. Spain is not suffering from a "contagion-style" crisis. The recent hike in the Bond did not leave other non-core countries unscathed, but the Spanish under performance highlights the new nature of the crisis:
Treasuries halted a slide from yesterday before Italy sells bonds, testing investor appetite for European securities and fueling demand for the relative safety of U.S. debt. Spanish 10-year yields surged to as high as 6 percent yesterday, approaching the levels that pushed Greece, Ireland and Portugal into bailouts. The U.S. plans to auction $13 billion of 30-year bonds today. The US Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against its major rivals, is losing ground on Wednesday, trading below the 80.00 mark ahead of the Beige
Book due later on in the American session. Risk-on trade has been slowly gaining traction since the close on Wall St. on Tuesday, extending its momentum into today’s session amidst concerns circling the euro zone economic conditions, particularly Spain.
These rates are for indication purpose only.