The British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.9955 level and was supported around the $1.9820 level. Sterling was pushed higher by anecdotal reports that a higher number of shoppers were in stores during yesterday’s Boxing Day holiday. Also, the BBA reported November mortgage approvals improved slightly from October’s record low level while Bank of England reported an unexpected rise in housing equity withdrawal in Q3 to ₤10.5 billion from ₤10.1 billion in Q2. Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.9640 levels. The euro gained ground vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested offers around the ₤0.7340 level and was supported around the ₤0.7280 level.