The euro and pound recovered lost ground against the greenback Wednesday after a series of upbeat economic reports drew a steady bid for both currencies.
A solid labor market report from the U.K. helped to lift the pound off from a one-month low against the dollar while GDP numbers for Italy and the Eurozone confirmed a further acceleration of growth during the second-quarter.
Office for National Statistics data show the U.K. unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since 1975 during June, while average incomes saw a surprise increase.
The unemployment rate came in at 4.4%, down from 4.5%, against an economist consensus for a steady hold. Wages and salaries were 2.1% higher than in the same period one year ago, whereas economists had forecast that average income growth would fall from 1.9% to 1.8%.
The pound rose by 60 points to trade at an intraday high of $1.2903 before paring gains. The British currency has now gained 4.48% since the start of the year although it remains 13.97% lower than it was before the result of the Brexit referendum became known in the early hours of June 24, 2016.
The currency has whipsawed during recent months as traders responded to the idea that the June election may now mean the nation avoids a so-called hard Brexit, which is an encompassing exit from the EU and its institutions, as well as fluid changes in interest rate expectations. Rising U.S. rates and a stronger dollar have also been factors.
Over on the continent, Italian gross domestic product data for the three months to the end of June showed the economy expanding at its fastest pace since the second quarter of 2010. GDP growth came in in-line with expectations, at 0.4% for the period.
This is while, for the Eurozone as a whole, the second estimate of second-quarter GDP came in as forecast. The Eurozone economy expanded at a rate of 0.6%, its fastest pace seen in any second estimate since the first three months of 2011.
The euro edged higher by a fraction against the greenback in response, changing hands at an intraday high of $1.1758, before paring gains and then slipping lower.
It has gained more than 11% against the dollar during the year to date as traders have sought to price in a European Central Bank governing council that now borders on hawkish.
A tapering of the ECB's bond buying program and an eventual change to its interest rate policy are both subjects that are firmly on the agenda at each of the central bank's press conferences, as well as some of its meetings.
Thursday will see the minutes from the latest ECB meeting, or its version of minutes, released to the market. The retail sales number for the month of July is the headline event Thursday for the U.K.
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