British pound climbs past US$1.50 for 1st time in 6 weeks as polls near
Asian shares were given a positive lead by New York, where the Dow rose 0.49 percent, the S&P added 0.51 percent and the Nasdaq gained 0.42 percent on Wednesday.
U.S. dealers’ confidence was lifted after data showed existing-home sales rebounded in March to the fastest pace in 18 months, pointing to solid spring sales this year.
The news gave a boost to the dollar. In afternoon Asian trade it was buying 119.85 yen, slightly down from 119.89 yen in New York but higher than the 119.54 yen in Tokyo earlier Wednesday.
It touched 120.10 yen Thursday morning.
The euro dipped ahead of a meeting between eurozone finance ministers in Latvia at the end of the week, buying US$1.0703 and 128.28 yen against US$1.0725 and 128.58 yen in U.S. trade.
The single currency has been
briefly slowly heading lower as Greece battles to raise cash to service its debts, while also haggling with creditors over reforms to its bailout.
Analysts warn Athens may have only weeks left before defaulting and possibly exiting the eurozone unless it reaches a deal with the EU and IMF to unlock 7.2 billion euros in remaining bailout loans.
The pound climbed beyond the US$1.50 barrier for the first time in six weeks as the countdown continued toward British elections in just over two weeks with polls deadlocked.
The sterling pushed up to US$1.5040 from US$1.4931 late Tuesday, and also rose to 180.35 yen from 178.67.
Meanwhile the dollar-euro pairing was little changed in a market on pause for new economic information.
Boris Schlossberg of BK Asset Management said the pound’s gain came on the back of the release of the minutes of the Bank of England’s April 9 policy meeting, showing two of the nine monetary policy committee members leaning toward a rate hike.
The pound “stopped just short of the US$1.5050 level in active London trade as pound shorts were squeezed mercilessly throughout the morning,” he said.