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Sterling hits 14 month high

Britain’s pound hit a 14-month high against the dollar today and was heading for its best week in more than eight years on a trade-weighted basis, as traders stacked up bets on a near-term interest rate rise from the Bank of England.

Dominated lately by moves in the dollar and the euro, sterling drew renewed focus from investors this week: on Thursday it enjoyed its biggest surge against the dollar since April after the Bank of England said it was likely to raise record-low interest rates in the coming months.

 A November rate hike shouldn’t be viewed as a sure-fire bet; we suspect that it is largely conditional on two factors: signs of a rebound in domestically generated inflation (namely wage growth) and a reduction in short-term political uncertainty.

Analysts argue that the central bank’s job has been complicated by wages that have not kept pace with inflation and an economy facing uncertainty caused by Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, making it less likely to move soon.

Investors will be watching for further clues about the Bank’s thinking when BoE policymaker Gertjan Vlieghe makes a speech at 0950 GMT.

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