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Pound climbs to highest since Brexit vote

17 April 2018

Central banks in many rich nations have been puzzled by the failure of wages to rise more quickly as unemployment falls, something they link to factors ranging from increased use of technology by firms to growth in the number of insecure jobs.

Earnings grew an average of 2.8%, outstripping inflation for the first time in over a year.

Unemployment figures, also released today, fell to a new post-1975 low of 4.2 per cent in February, down from 4.3 per cent in the previous month. The figures mean that United Kingdom workers are now getting a small real wage rise on average. "A lot of the detail in the report suggests the labour market is still tightening", Philip Shaw, an economist with Investec, said.

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Sterling weakened as the data showed wages in the three months to February rose by 2.8 percent, unchanged from the growth rate in the three months to January and below a median forecast of 3.0 percent in a Reuters poll of economists.

Official figures show that wages in Britain are rising faster than prices, a positive development for households that will likely fuel expectations that the Bank of England will raise interest rates again next month.

LONDON - The British pound climbed to its highest level against the dollar since Britain voted to leave the European Union nearly two years ago on Tuesday.

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Several factors have supported this recent resurgence, ranging from an increased market confidence that the United Kingdom and European Union can strike a Brexit deal, to falling confidence in the agenda of US President Donald Trump, which has weakened the dollar.Britain's better than expected economic performance over the last 18 months has also helped the pound over recent months. That's higher than the rate of inflation, which was 2.7% at the most recent reading.

Tuesday's data comes just weeks ahead of the May interest rate decision from the Bank of England May that is widely expected to yield another 25 basis point increase in the Bank Rate, which would leave the UK's main interest rate at 0.75%.

At 1.1585, Sterling remains 13% lower against the Euro than it was on the morning of the Brexit referendum while the Pound-to-Dollar rate is only 1.1% below the 1.45 level it was at before the result became known.

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Pound climbs to highest since Brexit vote