Pound Halts Rally As UK Trade Gap Widens

Date : 03/13/2012 @ 7:00AM
Source : RTTF2
Stock : Pound Sterling (B) VS Swiss Franc Spot (GBP/Chf) (GBPCHF)
Quote : 1.363175  -0.003105 (-0.23%) @ 11:06AM
UK Sterling vs Swiss Franc share price Chart

Pound Halts Rally As UK Trade Gap Widens

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The pound paused its recent rally against other major currencies in early European trading on Tuesday following a report showed that the nation's trade gap widened in the month of January.

U.K.'s trade deficit widened to GBP 7.5 billion in January from GBP 7.2 billion a month ago, the Office for National Statistics showed today. However, the shortfall was smaller than an expected GBP 7.9 billion deficit.

Exports of goods climbed by GBP 0.5 billion or 2 percent from December. Likewise, imports of goods increased by GBP 0.8 billion or 2.6 percent.

The deficit in trade in goods and services increased to GBP 1.8 billion from GBP 1.2 billion in December. At the same time, the surplus in trade in services fell to GBP 5.8 billion from GBP 6 billion a month ago.

European stocks advanced as the Eurozone finance ministers gave their final nod to a second bailout package for Greece after the country completed a debt swap deal with its private creditors last week.

"The new Greek program is not only in its starting blocks but has been politically adopted tonight by the Eurogroup," Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, who also heads the Eurogroup, said in Brussels after the meeting on Monday.

Thus far, the U.K. FTSE 100 index advanced 0.60 percent, France's CAC-40 index climbed to 0.90 percent and Germany's DAX rose above 0.70 percent.

The pound shed almost 30 pips against the Swiss franc to reach a low of 1.4364 around 5:45 am ET from an intra-day high of 1.4393. If the pair extends its decline, it may re-test Asian session's 2-week low of 1.4317.

Swiss producer and import prices declined less than expected by economists in February, the Federal Statistical Office said today. Year-on-year, the producer and import price index fell 1.9 percent, slower than economists' forecast for a 2.4 percent decline. Compared to the previous month, the index rose 0.8 percent, while expectations were for a 0.2 percent increase.

The pound that advanced to a 4-day high of 129.69 against the yen around 5:15 am ET erased some of its gains shortly after the trade report. The pound-yen pair is presently worth 129.37 with 128.75 seen as the next likely support level and 129.80 seen as the probable resistance.

Earlier in the morning, the Bank of Japan decided to enhance its Growth-Supporting Funding Facility to support economic growth and tackle deflation.

The central bank said that the total amount of loans available through the fund-provisioning measure will increase by JPY 2 trillion to JPY 5.5 trillion. At the same time, the central bank kept its monetary policy unchanged.

The pound that reached as high as 1.5673 against the dollar and 0.8383 against the euro around 5:15 am ET moved slightly off shortly after the report. The pound is presently trading at 1.5660 against the greenback and 0.8394 versus the euro.

Looking ahead, German ZEW economic confidence survey results are due at 6.00 am ET. Economists forecast economic confidence to rise to 10 in March from 5.4 in February. The current conditions index is forecast to improve to 41.5 from 40.3 a month ago.

The U.S. advance retail sales for February and business inventories data for January are expected in the New York morning session.

The U.S. Fed will announce its interest rate decision at 2:15 pm ET. The Fed is expected to maintain its benchmark interest rate at 0.25 percent.

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