Pound spikes as PMI rises more than expected

The UK pound spiked above 1.2900 as the Manufacturing PMI beat expectations and rose to highest since 2014. U.K. manufacturing unexpectedly grew at the fastest pace in three years in April as the domestic market strengthened and the pound’s decline boosted exports.

A measure of factory output rose to 57.3 from 54.2 in March, according to Markit’s PMI. That’s far better than the decline to 54 forecast by economists in a Bloomberg survey and above the 50 level dividing expansion from contraction. The report reinforces the view that exporters are in what Bank of England Deputy Governor Ben Broadbent has called a “sweet spot,” since the currency’s decline has increased competitiveness, while the U.K. still enjoys free trade with the European Union single market.

Markit’s survey also highlighted the mixed effects of the pound’s decline since the vote to leave the EU. Price pressures remained elevated last month, with input costs above their long- run average. Growth since the referendum has for the most part outperformed expectations, but weakness is beginning to appear as inflation squeezes living standards. Figures last week showed economic growth slowed to 0.3 percent in the first quarter.

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 The Pound failed to settle above 1.2900, but bulls remain in control. Unless 1.2700 gives up, the outlook remains bullish.