Investing.com - The pound pushed lower against the U.S. dollar on Monday, after the release of upbeat U.S. manufacturing data, while concerns over the outcome of tensions between Russia and Ukraine continued to weigh on risk sentiment.
GBP/USD hit 1.6700 during U.S. morning trade, the session low; the pair subsequently consolidated at 1.6702, slipping 0.25%.
Cable was likely to find support at 1.6617, the low of February 27 and resistance at 1.6823, the high of February 17.
The Institute for Supply Management reported that its manufacturing purchasing managers’ index rose to 53.2 last month from 51.3 in January, ahead of forecasts for an increase to 52.0.
The report attributed the rise to an increase in new orders after bad weather caused disruption at the start of the year.
Meanwhile, escalating tensions over the unfolding crisis in the Ukraine sparked a broad-based selloff in risk assets, following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to send troops into the Crimea region over the weekend.
Ukraine''s interim government has called for more international support to force Russian troops to leave.
The move sparked fears that the West will impose economic sanctions against Russia. Russia’s central bank hiked interest rates from 5.5% to 7% on Monday, after the rouble fell to new record lows against the euro and dollar.
Earlier Monday, data showed that the strong upswing in the U.K. manufacturing sector continued in February, with jobs growth in the sector accelerating to a 33-month high.
The Markit U.K. manufacturing purchasing managers’ index for February came in at 56.9, up from a revised 56.6 in January. Analysts had expected the index to tick down to 56.5.
A separate report showed that the number of mortgages approved in the U.K. rose to 76,947 in February, the highest level since November 2007, from 72,798 in January.
Sterling was higher against the euro, with EUR/GBP edging down 0.13% to 0.8233.
In the euro zone, data on Monday confirmed that the region’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index declined to 53.2 in February from 54.0 in January. It was the first dip in five months, highlighting the fragile nature of the recovery in the euro area.
The rate of decline in France’s manufacturing sector eased in February, while activity in Germany’s manufacturing sector rose for the eighth straight month.
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