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By Alex Edwards at  UKForex, an international money transfer service.

The pound advanced against a range of currencies last week, a move supported by the release of second estimate UK GDP data  on Wednesday.   It printed in line with market expectations, increasing 0.8%.   The number underlined the fact that economic growth is accelerating in the UK, backed also by the Bank of England’s revised growth forecasts the week before.   Carney also spoke last week and stressed that “seven percent is a threshold, not a trigger” in reference to unemployment and the bank’s interest rate policy.   He spoke again later in the week, announcing that  he’d be pulling the plug on half of the Government’s Funding for Lending Scheme over concerns for rising UK house prices.

US data was mixed – and also lacking, because of Thanksgiving  on Thursday. Durable Goods and Pending Home Sales printed weaker than expected whilst Building Permits data came in strong.   GBP/USD came close to breaking through 1.64, trading to a high of 1.6380.   The eventual break may come next week if US employment numbers print on the weaker side and in turn push back market expectations for a Fed taper. Non-farm Payrolls is the big release and is due  Friday.   There’s also a chance that UK Manufacturing PMI shows a strong reading too, given PMIs have consistently printed above forecasts lately.

EUR/USD, during what was a fairly lacklustre week, crept gradually higher.   German and European CPI printed slightly stronger than expected, which came as something of a mild relief to investors who were concerned about the threat of deflation to the EZ economy.   The currency pair finished the week on a strong note above 1.36.   The focus next week will be on the ECB Monetary Policy Announcement –  and arguably more importantly, ECB President Mario Draghi’s press conference.   There may be some acknowledgment of the latest positive CPIs, but we expect him to warn about the potential downside risks to inflation over the medium term and to leave the door open for more easing.

AUD/USD lost ground last week.   Data, including the CAPEX, was generally strong but the Aussie dollar was sold after news hit the wires late in the week that the Australian government had blocked an AU$3 billion bid for an Australian grain producer by a US agribusiness.   It also lost ground after it was announced that Rio Tinto had suspended production at its refinery in the Northern Territory.   NZD/USD tracked the aussie lower for most of the week amid a lack of local economic data.   Next week will be important for the Australian dollar – the RBA monetary policy decision will be the focus, at which point we expect the central bank to attempt to and continue to jaw-bone the currency lower.   There’s little by way of data due from New Zealand.