LONDON (Reuters) - Sterling was given some respite from its recent heavy losses against the dollar on Thursday, rising against the greenback after data showed the UK's trade deficit narrowed to its smallest since mid-2013 in January.
The Office for National Statistics said the total deficit shrank to 616 million pounds from 2.14 billion pounds in December, helped by a surge in exports of services and the plunge in oil prices.
Sterling rose to $1.4992 after the data from around $1.4965 before its release, leaving the pound up 0.4 percent on the day but still close to a 20-month low of $1.4912 hit overnight.
Against the euro, the pound pared losses to trade at 70.73 pence from 70.825 pence before the data, still down 0.1 percent on the day.
Reporting By Jemima Kelly, editing by Nigel Stephenson