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Sterling Rallies as UK Unemployment Falls Below 8%

By Benjamin Spier
17 October 2012 09:20 GMT

THE TAKEAWAY: UK jobless claims fall 4K in September, unemployment at 7.9% in August -> BoE minutes reveal split over need for more QE -> Sterling rallies

The British Pound set a new weekly high following better than expected unemployment numbers from August and September. UK jobless claims declined for the third straight month in September, as the amount of people looking for work dropped by 4,000, according to the UK Office for National Statistics. The decline in jobless claims beat expectations for unchanged amount of claims, but was lower than August’s 14,200 drop in unemployment claims.

Meanwhile, the UK unemployment rate for the three months ending with August dropped to 7.9% for the first time in 14 months, according to the International Labor Organization. The unemployment beat expectations for the rate to remain at 8.1%. Also, average weakly earnings climbed 1.7% in June through August from the same three month period in the previous year.

Also released today, the minutes from the last Bank of England meeting reported that all MPC members had voted unanimously to keep the interest rate at 0.50% and to keep the asset purchase target at 375 billion Pounds. However, there was a difference of opinion between board members about the need for more quantitative easing. The minutes also reported that the central bank expects broadly flat output for the rest of 2012 and inflation to remain above 2% in the near term.

The minutes added that the MPC members see a limit to what monetary policy can achieve. The BoE has previously said that they will wait to see the results of the Funding for Lending Scheme before deciding whether to add to the quantitative easing, however it was widely expected to hear of talk of further QE in the monthly minutes.

The British Pound rallied twenty points against the US Dollar and climbed above 1.6150 following the employment numbers. GBPUSD has been rallying over the past week, since finding support by 1.600. Resistance could now be provided near 1.6159 by a month-long downward trend line.

GBPUSD 15-minute: October 17, 2012

Sterling_Rallies_as_UK_Unemployment_Falls_Below_8_body_gbpusd.png, Sterling Rallies as UK Unemployment Falls Below 8%

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17 October 2012 09:20 GMT