The pound remained higher against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday, although gains were expected to be limited ahead of the highly-anticipated minutes of the Federal Reserve''s most recent policy meeting, expected later in the day.
GBP/USD hit 1.6457 during U.S. morning trade, the pair''s highest since January 3; the pair subsequently consolidated at 1.6461, rising 0.37%.
Cable was likely to find support at 1.6338, the low of January 6 and resistance at 1.6533, the high of December 30.
The dollar found support after data showed that the U.S. private sector added the largest number of jobs since November 2012 last month.
ADP nonfarm payrolls rose by 238,000 in December, easily surpassing expectations for an increase of 200,000. November’s figure was revised up to a gain of 229,000 from a previously reported increase of 215,000.
The strong data bolstered the outlook for the recovery in the labor market going into 2014 ahead of Friday’s keenly anticipated jobs report for December.
Investors were awaiting the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s December meeting, due for release later Wednesday, for indications on the possible timing of further reductions in the bank’s stimulus program.
In the U.K., data earlier showed that house prices fell for the first time in 11 months in December.
Mortgage lender Halifax said house prices fell by 0.6% last month, compared to expectations for a 0.6% increase. However, prices were still up by 1.9% in the last three months 2013, compared to the third quarter.
Sterling was also higher against the euro, with EUR/GBP shedding 0.40% to 0.8268.
Also Wednesday, data showed that the unemployment rate in the euro zone remained unchanged at 12.1% in November, while euro zone retail sales rebounded strongly in November.
Retail sales rose 1.4% in November, the biggest rise since November 2001, Eurostat said, recovering from a 0.4% fall in October.
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