Investing.com - The pound was higher against the dollar on Friday as optamism over the rapid economic recovery in the U.K. and fresh hopes for economic stimulus in China underpinned investor demand for sterling.
GBP/USD was last up 0.18% to 1.6639, after touching session highs of 1.6651, the strongest level since March 19.
Cable was likely to find support at 1.6553, Thursay’s low and resistance at 1.6700.
Risk appetite was boosted by indications that China’s government is prepared to do more to shore up the cooling economy. China''s premier Li Keqiang said Friday the country has policies in place to counter economic volatility. The remarks eased concerns over recent signs of a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy.
Sterling remained supported after a report on Friday showed that U.K. fourth quarter growth was left unrevised at 0.7% for the final three months of 2013. The economy expanded 2.7% from the same period a year earlier, but growth for the full year was revised down to 1.8% from a preliminary estimate for 1.9%.
Sterling shrugged off a report showing that the U.K. current account deficit came in at 22.4 billion pounds in the fourth quarter, well above expectations for a deficit of 14 billion pounds.
The reports came one day after official data showed that U.K. retail sales rose 1.7% in February; recouping most of January’s 2.0% decline, and were 3.7% higher from a year earlier.
Market expectations had been for a 0.5% increase on the month and an annual gain of 2.5%.
In the U.S., data on Friday showed that U.S. consumer spending rose 0.3% last month after a downwardly revised gain of 0.2% in January.
A separate report showed that the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index slipped to 80 in March, down from 81.6 the month before. It was higher than the preliminary March reading of 79.9 but below forecasts of 80.5.
In the week ahead, investors will be looking to Friday’s U.S. nonfarm payrolls report for March for further indications on the strength of the labor market, while U.K. PMI surveys on manufacturing, services and construction sector activity will also be closely watched.
Ahead of the coming week, Investing.com has compiled a list of these and other significant events likely to affect the markets.
Monday, March 31
The U.K. is to release data on net lending to individuals.
Tuesday, April 1
The U.K. is to release data on manufacturing activity.
Later Tuesday, the Institute of Supply Management is to publish a report on U.S. manufacturing growth.
Wednesday, April 2
The U.K. is to produce private sector data on house price inflation, as well as a report on construction activity.
The U.S. is to release the ADP report on private sector job creation, which leads the government’s nonfarm payrolls report by two days. The U.S. is also to release data on factory orders.
Thursday, April 3
The U.K. is also to release data on service sector growth, while the Bank of England is to announce its benchmark interest rate.
The U.S. is to publish data on the trade balance, as well as the weekly report on initial jobless claims. Meanwhile, the ISM is to publish a report service sector activity.
Friday, April 4
The U.S. is to round up the week with the closely watched government data on nonfarm payrolls and the unemployment rate.
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