June 7, 2018 / 9:33 AM / 8 months ago

Sterling at two-week highs on broad dollar rout

LONDON (Reuters) - Sterling climbed to more than two-week highs on Thursday, helped by general dollar weakness thanks to a broadening rally in the euro currency, though concerns over Brexit negotiations capped gains.

The new polymer 5 pound Sterling note featuring Sir Winston Churchill, is unveiled at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, Britain June 2, 2016. REUTERS/Joe Giddens/Pool

British ministers will meet on Thursday to try to hammer out an agreement over a “backstop” plan for the Irish border after concerns were raised by the Brexit minister that a current proposal would keep Britain tied to the EU indefinitely. [nL5N1T91AN]

“I don’t think the market is focused on the underlying Brexit issues at the moment but going along with the general dollar trend,” said Neil Mellor, a senior currency strategist at BNY Mellon in London.

Sterling rose to $1.3472 per dollar in early London trading, its highest levels since May. 22 as the dollar’s run higher in recent weeks peaked.

Against the euro, sterling was broadly flat at 87.81 pence.

The dollar’s rally in recent weeks has squeezed out long sterling positions with net long bets on the British pound falling to a quarter from a four-year high in April.

But after falling to around $1.32 at end-May, sterling has rebounded somewhat thanks to a pick up in data.

Data this week, including a widely watched survey of the dominant services sector on Tuesday, suggest weaker economic momentum in the first quarter was temporary and the economy is recovering. [nL9N1QN07S]

Investors would also need to see more than one month of solid economic data before expecting the BoE to raise rates. Money markets are now pricing in a 60 percent chance of a 25 basis point rate rise in September.

A trade-weighted index for the British currency has tiptoed higher to 78.69 after hitting a near-three month low in end May.

Reporting by Saikat Chatterjee; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg

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