The Office of National Statistics has reported a 0.9% rise in UK manufacturing in the month to July, the fastest pace in 18 months. This is accompanied by a 0.4% rise in industrial production and the news has sent sterling exchange rates higher this morning. The rise in manufacturing is due to an improvement in the automobile industry, helped along by the government's "cash for bangers" initiative. Recent survey data has been even more positive and the UK is expected to enter recovery in third quarter.

The British Retailers Consortium also reported lower sales figures this morning, falling by 0.1% in the month to August. Rising unemployment in the UK is helping to keep consumer confidence weak and volatile retail sales figures are a reflection of this. The sterling exchange rate could come under further pressure with the Bank of England interest rate decision due tomorrow.

Sterling exchange rates are currently at USD1.6556 and EUR1.1436.

The rates quoted above are interbank rates. Client rates may vary according to the volume and timing of the trade.