Sterling rises supported by Britain’s swift vaccine roll out

After retreating from a three-year high on Friday to fall below US$1.39 amid a rout in global bond markets and concerns of inflation risks, sterling rose as high as US$1.3999 in Asian trading. — Reuters file pic
After retreating from a three-year high on Friday to fall below US$1.39 amid a rout in global bond markets and concerns of inflation risks, sterling rose as high as US$1.3999 in Asian trading. — Reuters file pic

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LONDON, March 1 — Sterling edged higher against both the euro and the dollar today as a swift coronavirus vaccine roll out supported the pound and fuelled hopes of economic recovery.

After retreating from a three-year high on Friday to fall below US$1.39 (RM5.64) amid a rout in global bond markets and concerns of inflation risks, sterling rose as high as US$1.3999 in Asian trading.

In early London trading, it was 0.1 per cent higher at US$1.3938 by 0933 GMT as investors bet a vaccination programme would help lift the British economy.

Versus the euro, sterling rose 0.4 per cent to 86.34 pence, after falling to 87.30 on Friday.

Britain reported yesterday that more than 20 million people have received a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, while cases last week were down 21.2 per cent compared with the previous seven-day period, and deaths were down 33.5 per cent.

British finance minister Rishi Sunak is set to announce an extra £1.65 billion to fund the country’s vaccination roll-out as part of his annual budget statement on Wednesday.

“Developments have yet again looked positive for sterling, with 20 million of the UK population having now received their first vaccine at a minimum and reports that fiscal stimulus will remain supportive in Wednesday’s budget,” said Simon Harvey, senior FX Market Analyst at Monex Europe.

Sunak will also announce £5 billion of additional grants to help businesses hit hard by pandemic lockdowns, the government said on Saturday. — Reuters

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