The GBP had a day of two halves on Wednesday in the Northern Hemisphere. In London trading, the pound moved sharply higher once stops were hit around last Friday’s intra-day high of 1.3390. GBP/USD reached a best level of 1.3425 before giving back almost all the gains in the North American time zone. Overnight, as the US Dollar hit a fresh 3-month low, GBP/USD reached a best level of 1.3454, though the pound is otherwise mixed: up against the AUD, unchanged against EUR and CAD and lower versus the NZD.
The latest figures on UK housing market activity released this morning were pretty depressed. British banks approved the fewest mortgages in 15 months in November, when the Bank of England raised interest rates for the first time in more than a decade. Banks approved 39,507 mortgages for house purchase last month, down from 40,417 in October and 5% fewer than in November 2016, trade association UK Finance said.
More comprehensive lending figures from the Bank of England are due next Thursday and despite the Chancellor’s attempts to boost the number of first-time property buyers, it is very unlikely there will be any significant pick-up, if at all, until later in the Spring.
The pound opens in North America this Thursday morning at USD1.3435, EUR1.1265 and CAD1.6940.