The pound’s progress in the second half of the month will be partly determined by this morning’s UK balance of trade statistics and it currently remains pressured by poor house data.
Pound Sterling – UK Markets
The pound was pressured this morning after data showed that UK house prices grew at their slowest pace last month since July 2009.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors revealed that its monthly house price balance dropped to +9 in March from an upwardly revised +18 in February, catching off-guard a number of economists who had forecast a rise to +19.
Other data from the British Retail Consortium showed retail sales jumped at their fastest pace in a year in March, but the figures were flattered by the earlier timing of Easter.
Sterling-specific news remains overshadowed by the countries fiscal problems and following Greece’s recovery plan, a foreboding focus is now shifting towards the British Isles as the pound feels the pressure.
AT 1022 GMT pound exchange rates sat at USD1.5375 and EUR1.1315.
US Dollar – US Markets
The dollar fell 0.7% against the euro in early trading while the dollar index, which measures the US currency against a basket of six others, fell to 80.574 from 80.992 last Friday.
US currency also lost its grip on earlier gains against the Japanese currency to settle at 93.27 yen from 93.24 yen the previous session.
Investors watching the greenback are advised to follow the Trade Balance today at 1230 GMT, and thereafter follow the outcome of Treasury Secretary Geithner's speech at 1645 GMT.
Euro – European Markets
The euro rose against 11 of its 16 most-traded counterparts as Greece prepared to auction 1.2 billion Euros of debt in a sale that may underscore confidence in a European bailout for the nation.
The single currency’s exchange rate reached its highest level against the dollar in more than three weeks before the sale, the first since European leaders pledged at the weekend to provide Greece with as much as 45 billion Euros of loans at below-market rates.
At 1031GMT the Euro traded at USD1.3587 and GBP 0.8837.
Other Currencies – Highlights
The Aussie fell against 14 of its 16 major counterparts after central bank Assistant Governor Guy Debelle said the benchmark interest rate was “not far” from average levels.
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