Expectations that the Bank of England will raise interest rates have
seen the pound gain against the euro for the first time in four weeks
and put it at a six week high against the US dollar.

This morning the pound was 0.6774 to the euro and at 0.5085 to the

The rise in the pound followed a report showing UK inflation is running
above the Bank of England's target of two per cent, increasing pressure
on the Bank's monetary policy committee to increase interest rates to
cool consumer demand.

"The pound and interest rate expectations have spiked higher," Daragh
Maher, a currency strategist at Calyon in London, told Bloomberg.

"If next week's data echoes this strength, the case for a hike in April
or May will be further strengthened."

Figures from the Office for National Statistics revealed UK retail sales
volumes rose 1.4 per cent in February, twice the rate analysts expected
and the strongest monthly rate since January 2005.