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Currency Market News

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Sterling gains on data releases
20 August 2012

The Pound took strength last week from some unusually good economic data. Unemployment fell by 46,000 to its lowest level for a year, retail sales were better than expected, and inflation increased unexpectedly to 2.6% in June. (Note that higher inflation may not be good news generally, but is usually sterling-positive.)

So we saw an improvement in rates for buying most currencies last week, with the Pound achieving near the top of recent trading ranges against the Euro, US Dollar, South African Rand, NZ & Australian Dollars, and Thai Baht to name a few.

After such a busy week of important data releases, this week there is not much scheduled of importance. We have the revised UK GDP figure as well as public sector borrowing, but neither are likely to have a huge effect on rates. More likely to be making the headlines will be the Greek Prime Minister's visit to Berlin later in the week for talks with Angela Merkel and senior Eurozone finance officials. Greece is likely to ask for longer to implement austerity measures, while Germany is reluctant to change any terms, so these talks are crucial for the world economy since the Greek bailout deal must be sanctoned next month. Rumours of a Greek Euro-exit still persist, keeping the single currency weak during a time of uncertainty - and therefore giving us much better exchange rates for buying Euros than we saw for most of last year.

With the Pound currently enjoying favourable rates against many currencies, do remember that things can change very quickly. If you need to make payments in any other currencies do consider requesting a quote sooner rather than later - and if you are selling a currency to move back to sterling, keep an eye on rates and be alert to any movement back down to more usual trading levels.

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