Bri­tish pound climbs past US$1.50 for 1st time in 6 weeks as polls near

The China Post - - BUSINESS INDEX & -

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.

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