Economic news

Sterling on the Back Foot amid UK Recovery Worries

LONDON, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Sterling slipped on Monday, pulling back further from a one-week high against the dollar hit on Friday as investors wait for more data to assess the pace of the post-lockdown economic recovery and how soon interest rates could he hiked.

Figures on July jobs are scheduled for Tuesday while inflation and retail sales data will be published on Wednesday and Friday respectively.

The Bank of England expects inflation to rise sharply this year and hit a peak of 4%.

A strong reading for inflation would reinforce expectations that the Bank of England (BoE) is set to tighten its monetary policy quicker than the European Central Bank or the U.S. Federal Reserve.

“Firm CPI should keep expectations in play of 2022 BoE rate increases”, wrote ING analysts in a morning note.

A Reuters poll found that investors believed the BoE will raise borrowing costs by the end of 2022.

Comments by Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey sent the pound upwards last week when he said he was among those who thought the minimum conditions had been reached to consider an interest rate hike.

The announcement of a UK tax hike to fund health spending and social care had weighed on the pound earlier as it could theoretically ease pressure on the BoE to tighten monetary policy as it might slow down the recovery.

Investors are also now looking out for signs that more fiscal tightening could be on the way from Boris Johnson’s government.

“Having successfully pushed through his plans for a national insurance increase last week (effective next April), the domestic focus is on the political backlash to such tax increases - and also whether any other tax increases will emerge in the Chancellor’s autumn statement in October”, ING analysts also wrote.

At 0840 GMT, the pound was down 0.17% against the dollar at 1.3807 and slightly higher against the euro at 0.8534 pence.

According to weekly futures data, speculators increased their net short position on the pound in the week to Sept. 7, showing the speculative market is the most bearish on the pound versus the dollar since July 2020.

(Reporting by Julien Ponthus and Elizabeth Howcroft; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

Source: Reuters

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