December 9, 2016 / 4:48 PM / a year ago

Sterling heads for first week of falls in four

LONDON, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Sterling slipped against the dollar on Friday and was on track for its first week of falls in four, with investors’ hopes for a delayed Brexit dampened after British lawmakers said they would stick to Prime Minister Theresa May’s timetable.

The currency was briefly lifted in the morning by data showing Britain’s trade deficit narrowed more than expected in October.

But by 1630 GMT sterling was trading 0.1 percent down on the day at $1.2577. For the week, it was 1.2 percent lower against the dollar, having also been hit by weaker-than-expected industrial output data.

BNP Paribas currency strategist Clara Leonard said that while lawmakers’ backing of May’s timetable was a negative for sterling in the short-term, it would not weigh on the currency over the longer run.

And last month’s High Court ruling that parliament should be involved in the triggering of formal Brexit negotiations - a ruling the government has been appealing in the Supreme Court this week - was sterling-positive, she said.

“We remain quite bullish on the currency, because parliament is going to be more involved in Brexit negotiations - because they are largely pro-business and pro-Europe, that will soften up the discussions (with EU leaders),” Leonard said.

Sterling climbed 0.7 percent to 83.80 pence against a euro that was trading down across the board after the European Central Bank’s extension of its asset-purchase programme .

The pound is trading about 15 percent lower against the dollar after Britain voted to leave the European Union, and about 10 percent weaker against the euro.

Some investors and currency strategists say the pound’s close historical links to the dollar, through trade and investment, favour sterling against the euro and other currencies at a time when dollar strength is back on the cards.

While uncertainties surrounding the launch of Brexit negotiations will continue to weigh heavily on the pound, the UK remains better placed to generate growth than other European countries or Japan, analysts say.

“The resilience of the UK economy is also highlighting the similarities in the UK and U.S. economic cycles, (with) cyclical lows in unemployment rates, strong consumer spending and finally rising wage growth,” MUFG’s European head of global markets research, Derek Halpenny said. (Additional reporting by John Geddie; editing by Richard Lough)

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