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Wads of British Pound Sterling banknotes are stacked in piles at the Money Service Austria company’s headquarters in Vienna, Austria, November 16, 2017. — Reuters pic
Wads of British Pound Sterling banknotes are stacked in piles at the Money Service Austria company’s headquarters in Vienna, Austria, November 16, 2017. — Reuters pic

LONDON, March 30 — The British pound fell to its weakest level against the euro in over three months today but rose against the US dollar amid hopes of progress in Russia-Ukraine peace talks.

Russia yesterday promised to scale back its military operations near the Ukrainian cities of Kyiv and Chernihiv and Ukraine proposed a neutral status with international security guarantees while maintaining its territory. 

“European FX, notably the euro and GBP have benefitted from an unwind of Russian risks,” said Justin McQueen, a strategist at DailyFX.

“However, given that we have seen significant cross-EUR/GBP buying, aided by narrowing rate differentials, the upside in the Pound has been modest at best,” McQueen added.

Sterling was up 0.2 per cent against the US dollar to US$1.3127. 

Against a strengthening euro, the pound was down 0.1 per cent after earlier falling to its weakest against the single currency since December 23. 

Meanwhile, data from the British Retail Consortium showed major retailers raised their prices by 2.1 per cent in March, the fastest annual increase since September 2011 and the fifth consecutive month of increases. 

The data signals price pressures are continuing, handing the Bank of England a dilemma as a cost of living squeeze adds to growth risks.

The BoE has signalled it could be prepared to pause its tightening cycle after the next meeting, according to Michael Brown, head of market intelligence at Caxton.

However, markets are pricing in a further 133 basis points of tightening by the end of the year, taking the bank rate above 2.0 per cent.

“There’s a clear divergence here, which leaves the pound vulnerable to downside were hikes to be priced out,” Brown said. — Reuters

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