Forex – GBP/USD edges higher after mixed U.K. data

© Reuters. Pound gains some ground vs. dollar ahead of NFP report – The pound edged higher against the U.S. dollar on Friday, after the release mixed U.K. economic reports as traders remained mostly focused on the U.S. nonfarm payrolls report due later in the day.

hit 1.2178 during European morning trade, the session high; the pair subsequently consolidated at 1.2176, up 0.10%.

Cable was likely to find support at 1.2134, Thursday’s low and a seven-week trough and resistance at 1.2216, Wednesday’s high.

The U.K. Office for National Statistics said fell 0.9% in January, worse than expectations for a drop of 0.6% and following a rise of 2.2% in the previous month.

On an annualized basis, increased at rate of 2.7% in January, below forecasts for a 3.0% advance.

On a more positive note, the U.K. narrowed to £10.83 billion in January from £10.91 billion in December, whose figure was revised from a previously estimated deficit of £10.89 billion.

Analysts had expected the trade deficit to widen to £11.05 billion in January.

Separately, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed during a press conference in Brussels that Britain will start exit negotiations with the EU by the end of this month.

Investors were looking ahead to Friday’s government employment report for February, where a strong reading would cement expectations for a rate hike from the Federal Reserve next week.

The greenback weakened mildly after the U.S. Department of Labor said on Thursday that increased by 20,000 to 243,000 in the week ending March 4 from the previous week’s total of 223,000.

Analysts expected jobless claims to rise by 12,000 to 235,000 last week.

Sterling was lower against the euro, with rising 0.29% to 0.8717.

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