Forex - GBP/USD holds gains as U.K. budget speech starts

A A A - The pound held gains against the dollar on Wednesday as U.K. Chancellor George Osborne began to deliver the annual budget statement in parliament and revised down forecasts for growth.

GBP/USD hit 1.5166 during European afternoon trade, the pair's highest since Friday; the pair subsequently consolidated at 1.5152, up 0.36%.

Cable was likely to find support at 1.5026, the session low and resistance at 1.5220, the high of March 5.

Osborne said the forecast for economic growth in 2013 had been cut to 0.6% down from the previous forecast for growth of 1.2% in December.

The chancellor also said he was changing the Bank of England's remit to allow it to use "unconventional monetary instruments" to support the economy while keeping inflation stable.

Earlier Wednesday, the minutes of the BoE's March meeting showed that policymakers remained split over more easing, while official data showed that the U.K. unemployment rate held steady February.

The BoE minutes showed that three policymakers, including Governor Mervyn King, voted in favor of more quantitative easing, unchanged from the February meeting.

Separately, the Office for National Statistics said that the U.K. claimant count fell by a seasonally adjusted 1,500 in February, compared to expectations for a decline of 5,000.

The rate of unemployment held steady at 7.8% last month, in line with expectations and unchanged from January.

The pound was lower against the euro, with EUR/GBP rising 0.23% to 0.8553.

Investors were looking ahead to the outcome of the Federal Reserve's policy meeting later in the trading day, after data last week showing that U.S. inflation was contained left the way clear for the bank to continue its asset purchase program. - offers an extensive set of professional tools for the Forex, Commodities, Futures and the Stock Market including real-time data streaming, a comprehensive economic calendar, as well as financial news and technical & fundamental analysis by in-house experts.
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