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Pound Hits 15-Month High after British Jobs Data Reinforces Rate-Hike Bets

LONDON, July 11 (Reuters) - Sterling firmed to its strongest in over a year against both the dollar and euro on Tuesday after hot British labour data underscored market expectations of more interest rate rises from the Bank of England (BoE).

The pound rose as high as $1.2913, its highest since April 2022, and was last trading just shy of that level, up 0.37%.

Versus the euro, sterling was at its strongest since August 2022, with the European common currency 0.5% lower on the day at 85.11 pence.

Sterling is the best performing major currency against the dollar in 2023, up 6.6% as price rises in Britain prove stickier than inflation elsewhere, prompting traders to bet that the BoE will raise rates higher than other central banks.

Current market pricing indicates roughly a further 140 basis points of rate hikes from the BoE, much more than for the U.S. Federal Reserve or European Central Bank.

Higher rates are typically a boost for a currency in the near term, though many analysts say the resulting hit to economic growth will weigh on the pound in the long run.

Tuesday data showed a key measure of British wages matched its highest growth rate on record, though the unemployment rate did rise unexpectedly.

"The wage data indicated there is more work to do for the Bank of England and second order inflationary pressures are still in the pipeline," said Jane Foley, head of FX strategy at Rabobank.

She said while those further rate rises were already in the price, Tuesday's data had reinforced such views.

Sterling's gain against the dollar was also helped by a broad dollar decline. The dollar index, which tracks the unit against six major peers, including the pound, fell to a two-month low on Tuesday, though U.S. CPI data due on Wednesday could stem that decline if it comes in higher than expected.

Reporting by Alun John; Editing by Devika Syamnath

Source: Reuters

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