Pound Sterling - UK Markets

Sterling foreign exchange rates continued to slide against the euro yesterday, touching on an 11-day low of 1.1461 following strong European data. This morning the pound is weaker against its major currency partners, sinking to 1.63 against the US dollar and still trading around the 1.14 level against the euro.

Sterling sentiment is weak at present, particularly against the US dollar and euro following news that the eurozone is emerging from recession. The UK is expected to return to growth in the third quarter, with markets predicting a 0.5% expansion and this morning's figures show UK mortgage approvals have improved for the seventh month in a row, climbing 7.4% in July. There is no UK data today with the Bank of England's Charles Bean due to speak this afternoon.

US Dollar - US Markets

US foreign exchange rates are stronger this morning, gaining on all its major currency partners with the exception of the Japanese yen. The dollar has gained 0.3% on the pound and 0.14% on the euro to trade at 0.61 and 0.70 respectively.

US markets have opened optimistically following speculation that President Obama will reappoint Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve for a second term. Bernanke is highly regarded for his handling of the financial crisis and the news has led to gains for the greenback this morning. The US housing price index and consumer confidence figures are due today.

Euro - European Markets

Foreign exchange rates for the euro reached an 11-day high against the pound yesterday on the back of positive economic data. This morning the euro has dipped against the US dollar to 1.42, while gaining against the pound and Australian currency to 0.87 and 1.70 respectively.

The 3.1% rise in European industrial orders announced yesterday added to the growing evidence that the eurozone is emerging from recession. This supported euro foreign exchange rates, sending the euro to a multi day high against the pound. This morning's figures show seasonally adjusted GDP expanded by 0.3% in the second quarter for Germany, while Swiss unemployment has climbed to 3.95 million. There is no further data today.

Other Currencies - Highlights

Australian foreign exchange rates rose to a 13-year high against the pound yesterday, as risk sentiment drove appetite for the higher yielding currencies. A weak pound also helped the Aussie to the 13-year high, and the New Zealand dollar also posted gains on the pound. This morning the Australasian currencies have trimmed gains after Chinese equity markets dipped overnight.

Israel's central bank has voted to raise interest rates by 0.25%, becoming the first central bank to do so. This has prompted speculation that other central banks will soon follow suit, and the Israeli shekel has gained 0.35% on the pound.