The British pound appreciated sharply vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.6280 level and was supported around the $1.5970 level. Sterling rocketed higher on speculation Bank of England may pause its bond-buying program following recent improvements in the economy. The Financial Times reported BoE official Paul Fisher noted central bank policymakers would be likely to pause its asset purchase program and retain the option of doing more later. Deputy Governor Bean two days ago noted that rising asset prices and improving confidence could be positive signs the asset purchase program is working. Data released in the U.K. yesterday saw the September claimant count remain steady at 5%, rising by a less-than-expected 20,800. Short sterling interest rate futures expiring in March 2010 are indicating some traders believe the central bank will raise interest rates by the end of Q1 2010. Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.5640 level. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ?0.9165 level and was capped around the ?0.9345 level.