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Sterling steadies as survey shows businesses trim hiring and pay plans - REUTERS

MARCH 30, 2024

LONDON, March 27 (Reuters) - Sterling steadied on Wednesday after a survey showed British businesses trimmed back plans for staffing and wage increases this month, with the Bank of England watching for signs of inflation pressures abating enough for it to cut interest rates.

The Lloyds Bank Business Barometer's measure of staffing plans - or the gap between firms planning to hire and those planning cuts - fell to 27% from February's almost two-year high of 36%. The series' long-term average is 22%.

The share of firms expecting to raise wages by 3% or more over the next 12 months fell slightly to 33% from 35%.

Separate BoE data on Wednesday showed British mortgage holders and businesses are generally coping well with high interest rates, with problem debt levels well below those seen after the 2008 financial crisis.
"The perpetuation of supportive UK survey data (the Lloyds barometer)... supports both the UK recovery narrative and broad GBP impetus," said Jeremy Stretch, head of G10 FX Strategy at CIBC Capital Markets.
On Tuesdays, BoE policymaker Catherine Mann, who last week dropped her call for increases in borrowing costs, said she thought markets were betting on too many interest rate cuts by the British central bank.

Markets have scaled back expectations for a June rate cut by the BoE and now see a 84% chance of a cut in August.
Pricing shows roughly a 54% chance the British central bank will start cutting rates at its June meeting. On Tuesday, they were seeing a 65% chance of such move in June.

The video player is currently playing an ad. The pound was unchanged against the euro , with one euro worth 85.72 pence. It edged 0.1% lower at $1.2611 against the dollar , not far from a five-week low of $1.2575 hit on Friday following the BoE meeting the day before. Last week, traders adjusted their expectations, anticipating rate cuts in June rather than August, after the BoE said at its Thursday meeting that inflation was moving in the right direction for interest rate cuts. Advertisement · Scroll to continue


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