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PMI data helps pound to one-week highs against toiling euro

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Pound Sterling notes and change are seen inside a cash resgister in a coffee shop in Manchester, Britain, Septem,ber 21, 2018. REUTERS/Phil Noble

LONDON (Reuters) – The pound held at one-week highs versus the euro on Tuesday as strong data boosted the British currency while the euro struggled on growing concerns about far-right candidate Marine Le Pen winning this month’s French presidential elections.

Positive British PMI data supported the pound, building on Monday’s gains, while the prospect of more sanctions against Russia also weighed on the euro.

The S&P Global/CIPS UK Services PMI rose to 62.6 in March from 60.5 in February, far above the 50 threshold for growth.

“For now, money markets are embedding five more (UK interest rate) hikes by the end of the year, which is likely offering some support to GBP in the background,” ING analysts said in a note.

Money markets are pricing in nearly 140 basis points of cumulative rate hikes from the Bank of England by the end of 2022. The central bank’s chief economist Huw Pill is due to speak on Thursday.

The euro was on the back foot after 48.5% of voters said they intend to vote for far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in a likely run-off against President Emmanuel Macron, an opinion poll showed on Monday.

While the single currency clawed back some early losses, it still held near the day’s lows versus the British pound. Versus the dollar, the pound was last up 0.11% at $1.31290.

PMI data helps pound to one-week highs against toiling euro

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