Pound nears 5-year high

The pound (CME:B6M14) was 0.3% from the highest level in more than five years against the dollar (NYBOT:DX) as data showed speculators increased their bets on its appreciation to the most since 2007.

Sterling slipped from near the strongest level versus the euro (CME:E6M14) since October 2012 before a report this week that analysts said will confirm the U.K. grew 0.8% in the first quarter. An improving economy prompted Bank of England Governor Mark Carney to say on June 12 an interest-rate increase may happen sooner than markets anticipated, a message reiterated in minutes of this month’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting released last week. U.K. government bonds rose.

The U.K. currency was little changed at $1.7009 at 2:17 p.m. London time after rising to $1.7063 last week, the most since October 2008. Sterling traded at 79.93 pence per euro after appreciating as much as 0.2% to 79.77 pence. It reached 79.59 on June 16, the strongest level since Oct. 1, 2012.

Bets by hedge funds and other large speculators on an advance in the pound exceeded those wagering on a decline by 52,596 contracts on June 17, the most since December 2007, data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in Washington show.

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