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Sterling hit as May's poll lead shrinks

Friday, May 26, 2017 - 01:53

Sterling falls to a two-week low as opinion polls show a narrowing lead for British prime minister in the UK election race. As Ciara Lee reports, investors are also getting anxious over the gathering signs of softness in the British economy.

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Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn resumes his push for the general election. Campaigns were suspended following the Manchester concert attack in which 22 people died, and are restarting under the shadow of a security threat. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LABOUR LEADER, JEREMY CORBYN, SAYING: "Do not doubt, my determination to take whatever action is necessary to keep our country safe and to protect our people, on our streets." With just a fortnight to go, a new poll shows Corbyn's Labour Party closing to just five per cent behind Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservatives. And that's spooking investors. Sterling fell over half a percent in morning trade, on course for its biggest one-day slide in over three weeks. (SOUNDBITE) (English) INDEPENDENT MARKET ANALYST, JEREMY BATSTONE-CARR, SAYING: "The pace at which the Labour Party has eaten into that previous Tory lead has I think proved fairly disconcerting, particularly for those who were of the opinion that the Conservatives were on their way to a very substantial parliamentary majority. A majority which they could then use to drive through a robust position in relation to the Brexit debate." The poll comes just after data confirmed Britain's economy slowed more than thought in the first quarter of the year. GDP up by just 0.2 percent compared with an earlier estimate of 0.3 percent. (SOUNDBITE) (English) INDEPENDENT MARKET ANALYST, JEREMY BATSTONE-CARR, SAYING: "The export numbers are not strong enough to offset strong imports. Current account deficit, our Achilles heel, remains very much in evidence and that of course is causing pressure on the pound." And inflation is making households more anxious, according to a new survey. Consumers - whose spending is crucial to Britain's economy - at their least confident about their current financial situation in over two years. While another survey suggests demand in the services sector was flat in the three months to May.

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Sterling hit as May's poll lead shrinks

Friday, May 26, 2017 - 01:53