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Sterling on the backfoot

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Yesterday was a poor day for Sterling and it hit a 10 week low versus the Euro! This was good news for Euro sellers but painful for buyers. There was some positive news ( allegedly ) as the British Bankers Association members approved 38.1k mortgages in January which was 4% more than the previous month. CBI Industrial Trends Survey , which measures industrial order books , improved from -16% to -3%. None of this 'good' news was of help to stering though!

ECB president Mario Draghi took a tough stance on budget deficits in an interview with Wall Street Journal saying that “backtracking on fiscal targets would elicit an immediate reaction by the market". The comments come as a debate in Europe is intensifying as to whether austerity has gone too far and should be eased due to the very negative effects on economic growth. Spain is currently pressing the EU to ease its deficit target for this year from 4.4% to above 5% - see FT.

Greece yesterday approved a debt restructuring plan involving collective action clauses. This will likely trigger a downgrade to selective default, probably already today. EUR206bn of Greece’s total debt of EUR350bn is eligible for restructuring and the law implies that Greece can make changes to all of the EUR206bn worth of bonds if two-thirds of bond holders approve the changes.

Data released 24.02.2012

UK 09.30 Revised GDP (Q4)

US 14.55 Final Michigan Sentiment (February)

US 15.00 New Home Sales (January)

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