The British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.5005 level and was supported around the $1.4855 level. Cable briefly popped above the psychologically-important US$ 1.50 figure during European dealing but traders pushed the pair back below the $1.49 figure during the North American session. Data released in the U.K. today saw February retail sales record their largest jump since May 2008, up 2.1% m/m and 3.5% y/y. Chancellor of the Exchequer Darling reported his latest economic growth forecast is in line with the Bank of England forecast. Darling yesterday reported he plans to reduce borrowing further. Darling yesterday reduced his budget deficit forecast for the next five fiscal years by £44 billion. On the whole, Darling's fiscal report was more proactive than expected about addressing the U.K.'s fiscal problems. The U.K.'s 2009-2010 budget deficit is expected to total around £167 billion and be slightly less in the 2010-2011 fiscal year. Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.4455 level. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the £0.8895 level and was capped around the £0.8955 level.
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