British Pound Holds Ground, Extends Advance Versus Euro

GBP is holding firm against most currencies at the moment. Cable logged an eight-day peak of 1.6573 earlier while EUR-GBP has remained heavy, now below its Thursday closing level of 0.8523, despite talk of German demand. Stops through 1.6550 in Cable had helped lift the pound. There is some talk that the Nationwide data showing U.K. house prices lifting for a third consecutive month had encouraged sterling buyers, though the low volumes and continued lack of mortgage availability suggests that signs of improvement in the property market are on shaky foundations. A big focus on the U.K. domestic front will be next week’s BoE announcement and the outlook for the Asset Purchase Facility given current confusion about the outlook for the central bank’s quantitative easing programme. Should the Bank decide to raise its purchase target in August, this could weigh on sterling, though most expect an unchanged target level to be reaffirmed.