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Sterling hits 7-week high against euro
STERLING hit a seven-week high against the euro on Wednesday, building on gains during the previous session when the Bank of England's governor said there were "lots of issues" with cutting interest rates below zero.
Governor Andrew Bailey said negative rates could hurt banks and potentially reduce their lending to companies, when the economy is already struggling with a third national lockdown.
Sterling rose 0.4 per cent to 88.97 pence on Wednesday, its highest level against the single currency since Nov 25. Against the US dollar, the pound rose 0.2 per cent to US$1.3697, touching a nine-day high.
The jump in the pound "definitely looks like a spillover from yesterday's session with money markets continuing to pare back expectations of negative interest rates due to governor Bailey's comments", said Simon Harvey, FX analyst at Monex Europe.
Market pricing shows investors expect negative rates from Britain's central bank in June. Before Mr Bailey's comments, those expectations were for May.
Following the completion of a Brexit trade deal in December, investors have turned their attention to Britain's economy and its Covid-19 vaccination campaign.
Negative rates talks could make a come back later on in the year, analysts said.
"Negative rates would almost be like a steroid injection for the UK economy after it has been vaccinated," Mr Harvey added.
Deliveries of Covid-19 vaccines to Britain are on track and sufficient to meet the government's vaccination targets, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Wednesday, referring to a government goal to offer a vaccine to all over 70 years old, extremely vulnerable people and health care workers by Feb 15.
With faster vaccination than in the European Union, ING expects sterling to grind lower than 88.00 pence per euro.
Against the US dollar, the bank expects a "more pronounced GBP upside" and forecast the pound to touched US$1.48 by the end of the year, ING analysts wrote in a note to clients. REUTERS