Sterling slips after dollar rebound; focus on Bank of England

17 Sep 2020 / 16:26 H.

    * Graphic: World FX rates in 2020

    * Graphic: Trade-weighted sterling since Brexit vote

    LONDON, Sept 17 (Reuters) - The pound's recent recovery against a weaker dollar was interrupted on Thursday when the dollar strengthened following the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting, while investors' attention turned to the Bank of England's policy meeting.

    The Fed decided to keep interest rates on hold in the near future, disappointing investors who had bet that the Fed might unveil more policy easing.

    The dollar saw its biggest daily rise in more than a week and riskier currencies - including the pound - lost out.

    Attention is now focused on the Bank of England's monetary policy meeting, the minutes of which will be published at 1100 GMT.

    The bank is widely expected to hold fire on new policy measures and send only a signal of its intent to do more in future.

    But the economic projections are likely to be bleak, as Britain faces growing risks of a no-deal Brexit, rising COVID-19 cases and social restrictions, and the end to the government's jobs support scheme.

    "The Bank of England can really be quite content with the economic recovery following the corona shock so far," wrote Esther Reichelt, FX analyst at Commerzbank. "Unfortunately, nobody really expects this positive momentum to be maintained."

    Reichelt said that a monetary policy change is not expected until November and that the focus for today's meeting is likely to be what other measures the bank is planning for if the economic recovery falters.

    "Due to the Brexit uncertainty the BoE is forced to prepare for all eventualities. That also includes the ability to be prepared for possible rate cuts," she said.

    At 0755 GMT, the pound was at $1.2951, down 0.1% since New York's close.

    It was little changed against the euro, at 91.05 pence per euro.

    Brexit talks were thrown into disarray by Prime Minister Boris Johnson proposing legislation that would break international law by breaching parts of the Withdrawal Agreement relating to Northern Ireland.

    The bill is moving through parliament this week. The pound gained some respite on Wednesday after Johnson's government reached a deal to avert a rebellion within his own party, by giving parliament a say in the use of the post-Brexit powers within the bill.

    U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden warned the UK that it must honour its commitments to Northern Ireland, or there would be no post-Brexit trade deal between the UK and United States. (Reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft, Editing by William Maclean)

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