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Sterling steadies above US$1.30, eyes on ECB
[LONDON] Sterling inched lower on Thursday, with dealers citing growing resistance to any further recovery against the US dollar on a day set to be dominated by events in Europe and the United States.
The pound dipped around 0.1 per cent against both the euro and dollar compared to Wednesday's New York close in early trade in London, leaving it just one penny above 11-month lows hit against the single currency a week ago.
Traders said there was a growing weight of offers to sell sterling around US$1.31-US$1.32 which were likely to cap any further gains.
By 0657 GMT the pound was trading at US$1.3039, having peaked on Wednesday at US$1.3082.
"We've reached a point where there is strong two-way demand in the Cable rate, ultimately leaving the major pair in a lot of choppy up and down," analysts from Lmax Exchange said in a morning note.
"The pound has been supported by broad-based US dollar weakness in 2017. On the other side, UK data has also been struggling and on the Brexit front, there has been a growing tension between EU and UK officials."
Investors have doubled net speculative bets against the pound and in favour of the dollar in the past three weeks, taking them to their highest since early May.
Analysts polled by Reuters this week said that sterling stood a one in four chance of weakening to parity with the euro in the coming year, although only a few said that was their central forecast.
Thursday's session in Europe should be dominated by the European Central Bank's policy statement and post-meeting news conference, which starts at 1230 GMT.
ECB President Mario Draghi is set to start laying the groundwork for a cut in monetary stimulus when policymakers meet on Thursday, but a subdued outlook for inflation means he is unlikely to make any commitment yet.
Expectations of a reining in of the bank's emergency support for the economy have driven strong gains for the euro this year, and signs ECB policymakers are concerned by that rise has capped the currency in the past month.
"It is all about the ECB today," said a trader with one international bank in London.
"...Draghi always has a message and there is always some action - it just doesn't look like today is one of the big days."