RTTNews - Wednesday during early deals, the British pound jumped to new multi-month highs against the currencies of US, Europe, Switzerland and Japan, as rising regional stocks and signs of healthy demand for U.S. government debt eased worries over the U.S. and global economies, boosting investors risk appetite.
At 4:56 am ET, the FTSE 100. FTSE index was 24.39 points firmer at 4,436.11, having closed 46.43 points, or 1.1 percent higher in the previous session.
The pound also gained as a report by the British Bankers' Association showed that number of mortgages approved in the U.K. rose to 27,685 in April from 26,671 in March. However, approvals for April stood below the expected level of 28,000 and dropped 15.5% from the previous year.
Last week, the pound plummeted after ratings agency Standard & Poor's revised the outlook on the U.K. to negative from stable. The rating agency affirmed 'AAA' long-term and 'A-1+' short-term sovereign credit ratings.
Against the US dollar, UK's sterling advanced above 1.60 level during Wednesday's early trading, hitting 1.6041. This set the highest point for the pair since early November 2008. If the sterling ticks up further, 1.620 is seen as the next likely target level. At yesterday's close, the pound-dollar pair was quoted at 1.5928.
The pound fell to a 23-year low of 1.3507 against the dollar on January 23, after a government report showed that the UK economy slipped into its first recession since 1991. The pound started climbing thereafter but weakened again within two weeks. However, after hitting a 2-1/2 -month low of 1.3659 March 12, the UK currency has been rising and gained around 15.70% thus far.
From U.S., the National Association of Realtors is scheduled to release its report on existing home sales for April at 10 am ET today. Economists estimate existing home sales of 4.65 million for the month. Half an hour later, the Energy Information Administration is scheduled to release its weekly petroleum inventory report.
The UK currency soared to 0.8719 against the euro during Wednesday's early trading. This set a highest point for the UK currency since February 10, 2009. The next upside target for the UK currency is seen around the 0.872 level. The euro-pound pair closed Monday's deals at 0.8783.
The French Statistical Office INSEE announced that the business confidence indicator increased to 72 in May from 71 in April. Economists had expected an increase of 73 for May. The business confidence was 68 in March.
The pound continued to creep higher versus the yen and rose to a new multi-month high of 152.86 in early deals on Wednesday. The next upside target for the pound-yen pair is seen around the 156.2 level. At Tuesday's New York session close, the pair was quoted at 151.37.
The pound has been in an upward channel against the yen after it fell to a new multi-year low of 118.88 on January 23. Since then, the UK currency has gained around 22%.
The yen and the dollar fell today as the healthy consumer data raised hopes of an economic rebound, boosting demand for perceived riskier assets. The Conference Board's reading on consumer confidence for May reached its highest level since September 2008, generating some optimism about the outlook for consumer spending.
The report showed that the consumer confidence index rose to 54.9 in May from an upwardly revised reading of 40.8 in April. Economists had expected the index to edge up to 42.6 from the 39.2 originally reported for the previous month. With the increase, the index rose to its highest level since September of last year, when the index came in at a reading of 61.4.
On the economic front, the Ministry of Finance said today that Japan saw a merchandise trade balance of 69.0 billion yen in April, marking the third straight month of surplus. The April figure came in far better than expectations for a 69.5 billion yen deficit following the revised 10.3 billion yen surplus in March.
Exports plummeted 39.1 percent on year, the data showed, falling for the seventh consecutive month. That was smaller than forecasts that had predicted an annual decline of 41.9 percent after the 45.5 percent fall in March.
Imports fell 35.8 percent on year, declining for the sixth straight month. Analysts had expected a fall of 38.4 percent on year after the revised 36.6 percent decline in March.
The pound also surged higher versus the Swiss franc, climbing to a new multi-month high of 1.7390 during today's early deals. On the upside, 1.739 is seen as the next target level for the UK currency. The pound-franc pair closed Tuesday's deals at 1.7268.
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