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Sterling gains, as UK consumer spending climbs to eight month high

Published:  29 February, 2012

Sterling held its own yesterday and even gained against some currencies.

Currency rates - February 29

EURO/GBP - 1.1829

US$/GBP - 1.5921

CHF/GBP - 1.4259

CAN$/GBP - 1.5817

AUS$/GBP - 1.4724

ZAR/GBP - 11.9029

JPY/GBP - 128.18

HKD/GBP - 12.3482

NZD/GBP - 1.8898

SEK/GBP - 10.4374

AED/GBP - 5.8481

US$/EURO - 1.3456

INR/GBP - 77.98

The UK Confederation of British Industry (CBI) figures showed that the level of consumer spending in the UK was much better than predicted climbing to an eight month high.

In Europe yesterday, the German Preliminary Consumer Price Index CPI figures released were better than expected and data revealed that the general economic confidence in the Euro zone has improved more than markets had anticipated. In other news, Ireland has decided to hold a referendum on whether or not to sign the European Fiscal Treaty which will enforce tighter budget rules for Ireland and the other Euro zone nations. It would appear that the vote is effectively a decision whether or not to stay in the euro.

In the US today, the markets were shocked by the poor durable goods data released; however, the consumer confidence figures were better than the markets had anticipated and have reached the highest level in a year. Preliminary GDP data is released out of the states today and following the announcement the Chairman of the Federal bank will testify providing further insight into the world's largest economy.

Elsewhere, the Swiss National Bank Governing Board's Interim Chairman was speaking yesterday; but, surprisingly didn't mention the €1.20/Chf1 peg which is still under threat; whilst the unemployment data released came in as expected. Out late last night and first thing this morning a raft of data was released including business confidence figures from New Zealand, retails sales data from Australia and Switzerland's economic barometer figures.

Supplied by Nick Ryder of Smart Currency Exchange, the currency partner to Harpers Wine and Spirit who have teamed up with Smart to provide readers with a free bespoke currency service. Go to for more information or call on 0207 898 0500.