The British pound gained marginal ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.9700 figure and was supported around the $1.9615 level. Technically, the pair continues to orbit the $1.9660 level, representing the 50% retracement of the move from $1.9955 to $1.9360. Data released in the U.K. today saw BBA January mortgage approvals edge up to 44,288, the first increase since May 2007, but were off 31.3% y/y. Also, net mortgage lending increased to ₤5.2 billion in January from a revised ₤4.9 billion in December. Additionally, Hometrack reported U.K. house prices fell for the fifth consecutive month in February, off 0.2% m/m and up 1.4% y/y. Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member Barker reiterated Recession remains outside the main possibilities. We have got this combination of shocks coming from abroad and it's difficult. We certainly expect a period of greater volatility this year. Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.9590/ 1.9260 levels. The euro weakened vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested bids around the ₤0.7525 level and was capped around the ₤0.7555 level.