The pound continues its remarkable run which has seen GBP/USD rise for 9 consecutive days without once testing or breaking the previous day’s low. Yesterday it jumped to a fresh 2018 high of 1.4018 and this morning in London has traded up to 1.4147; the highest since the EU referendum on June 23rd 2016; some 410 trading days ago.
The latest economic data published this morning by the Office for National Statistics showed that in the three months to November 2017, the number of people in work increased, the number of unemployed people was little changed, and the number of people aged from 16 to 64 not working and not seeking or available to work (economically inactive) decreased. There were 32.21 million people in work, 102,000 more than for the previous 3-month period and 415,000 more than for a year earlier.
The unemployment rate was 4.3%, down from 4.8% a year earlier and the joint lowest since 1975, whilst average weekly earnings in nominal terms (that is, not adjusted for price inflation) increased by 2.5% including bonuses and by 2.4% excluding bonuses, compared with a year earlier.
On Brexit, about which we have heard very little so far in 2018, Secretary of State David Davis has been giving evidence to the UK Parliament this morning. Giving evidence to the House of Commons Exiting the EU Committee, Davis said that he wants “substantive” negotiations on Britain’s future relationship with the EU to be concluded by the time it leaves the bloc in March 2019 and that it would be a mistake to allow negotiations to carry on into the proposed transition period following Brexit. Davis said he expected a clash with the European Union over whether the UK will be able to seek its own trade deals during the transition period. “There may be an argument over the issue of doing outside negotiations, there may well be an argument over that.”
For the moment, nothing seems to stand in the way of the British Pound which opens higher once again in North America this morning at USD1.4145, CAD1.7435 and AUD1.7540.