Forex - GBP/USD rises off 18-month lows after upbeat U.K. data

Shutterstock photo - - The pound rose against the U.S. dollar on Friday, pulling away from 18-month lows as the release of positive U.K. manufacturing and trade balance data lent support to sterling, although demand for the greenback continued to receive broad invstor support.

GBP/USD hit 1.5150 during European morning trade, the pair's highest since Wednesday; the pair subsequently consolidated at 1.5134, gaining 0.30%.

Cable was likely to find support at 1.5032, Thursday's low and an 18-month low and resistance at 1.5274, the high of January 6.

In a report, the U.K. Office for National Statistics said that manufacturing production rose 0.7% in November, beating expectations for a 0.3% gain, after a 0.7% fall the previous month.

On the other hand, U.K. industrial production ticked down 0.1% in November, data showed on Friday, confounding expectations for an increase of 0.2%. October's figure was revised to a 0.3% slip from a previously estimated 0.1% fall.

A separate report showed that the U.K. trade deficit narrowed to £8.85 billion in November from £9.84 billon in October, whose figure was revised from a previously estimated deficit of £9.62 billion.

Analysts had expected the trade deficit to narrow to £9.40 billion in November.

The data offset a recent string of weak U.K. economic reports and came a day after the Bank of England's monetary policy committee voted to hold the benchmark interest rate at 0.50% and left the size of its asset purchase program unchanged at £375 billion.

Meanwhile, the dollar remained broadly supported after data on initial jobless claims released on Thursday pointed to an ongoing recovery in the labor market.

The Department of Labor reported on Thursday that initial jobless claims fell by 4,000 to 294,000 last week, just slightly above expectations of 290,000. The upbeat report boosted the outlook for the U.S. recovery and raised expectations for a strong reading of the government nonfarm payrolls due later Friday.

Sterling was also higher against the euro, with EUR/GBP edging down 0.17% to 0.7803. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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