(Updates to open of U.S. trading; changes byline, dateline, pvs
* Pound helped by report on May's Brexit plan
* Dollar index hits 7-month high on rate hike view
* Euro hits 11-week low against dollar
* Fed minutes scheduled for release at 2 p.m. ET (1800 GMT)
By Sam Forgione
NEW YORK, Oct 12 Sterling rose on Wednesday amid
indications Britain may avoid an aggressive and potentially
damaging exit from the European Union, while the dollar hit a
seven-month high against a basket of major rivals ahead of the
release of Federal Reserve meeting minutes.
Fears that Britain would give up full access to the EU's
single market pushed sterling to 31-year lows last week and led
the currency to plunge 10 percent within minutes on Friday.
British Prime Minister Theresa May's offer to give lawmakers
some scrutiny of the process to leave the European Union calmed
market fears of a "hard Brexit." Analysts said May's discussions
with lawmakers in parliament, many of whom are against Brexit,
could lead to a compromise that would make the country's divorce
from the EU less damaging to the UK economy.
May's offer to consult with lawmakers "doesn't take a hard
Brexit off the table, but it does mean other voices will be
heard, and therefore perhaps a more gentle approach," said
Richard Franulovich, senior currency strategist at Westpac
Banking Corporation in New York.
Sterling was last up 0.63 percent against the
dollar at $1.2199, down from a session high of $1.2326.
The currency pared gains after Brexit minister David Davis
told parliament on Wednesday that Britain's government has the
right to trigger Article 50, the formal legal process for
leaving the European Union, before beginning exit negotiations
with the bloc.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a
basket of six major currencies, hit a seven-month high of 97.968
ahead of minutes of the Federal Reserve Open Market
Committee's September meeting, scheduled for release at 2:00
p.m. ET (1800 GMT).
Analysts said rising expectations that the U.S. central bank
will raise rates in December were boosting the dollar, with one
analyst saying traders would be watching closely for
reinforcement of that view in the minutes' language.
"We suspect that the market will be more alert to the
hawkish voices in the minutes," said Vassili Serebriakov, FX
strategist at Credit Agricole in New York.
The euro hit an 11-week low of $1.1009 in morning
U.S. trading, and was last down 0.27 percent at $1.1023. The
dollar also hit an 11-week high against the Swiss franc
of 0.9903 franc and was last up 0.43 percent against the yen
at 103.95 yen.
(Reporting by Sam Forgione; Additional reporting by Anirban Nag
in London; Editing by Bernadette Baum)