Sterling Rallies as U.K. Inflation Breaks Central Bank Target

Bundles of Euro Currency and Sterling NotesBundles of 20 sterling pound notes are arranged for a photograph inside a Travelex store, operated by Travelex Holdings Ltd., in London, U.K., on Wednesday, March 6, 2013. Photographer: Simon Dawson
  • Sterling Rallies as U.K. Inflation Breaks Central Bank Target

The pound rose to the highest in three weeks and gilts fell as U.K. inflation accelerated more than forecast to break through the Bank of England’s target for the first time since 2013.

The data showing annual inflation picked up to 2.3 percent in February, versus a median estimate of 2.1 percent in a survey of economists, underlined bets by investors that the BOE will tighten policy as early as next year. Market rates are now fully pricing a 25-basis-point rate rise by August 2018, compared with a 67 percent chance priced on Monday.

Sterling rallied as much as 0.9 percent to $1.2471, the highest since Feb. 27. Ten-year gilts dropped with yields rising six basis points to 1.29 percent, the highest in more than a month.

However, banks are keeping a cautious outlook on the currency as U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is set to trigger Article 50 on March 29 to start the process of the nation’s exit from the European Union.

“We suspect sellers will be viewing the post-inflation squeeze higher as an opportunity to re-initiate short sterling positions,” said Viraj Patel, a London-based strategist at ING Bank NV.

Uncertainty is likely to remain high for an extended period, Valentin Marinov, a London-based strategist at Credit Agricole SA, said in a note to clients.

About the Author

Samed Olukoya
CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and, with over a decade long experience in the global financial market. Contact Samed on Twitter: @sameolukoya

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