The pound made a recovery of sorts after three solid days of falls against the euro on the back of a report from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) that sharply upped its 2013 growth forecast for the UK economy, saying the economy is gaining momentum.
The BCC now expects the UK economy to grow by 1.3% this year, up from its previous forecast of 0.9%. It also forecast UK economic growth over the next two years of 2.2% and 2.5% respectively.
The services sector, ever dominant in the UK economy is leading the recovery after two and a half years in which the UK economy almost completely stagnated.
Yesterday, better than expected data from the US led investors to speculate that the Federal Reserve may begin tapering its $85 billion a month in September. While recent economic data has been decidedly mixed in quality, yesterdayâ€™s latest weekly jobless claims data were in line with estimates and second-quarter economic growth figures were far stronger than anticipated.
The report from the US Department of Labor showed that initial jobless claims for the week ended 24 August came in at 331,000, 6,000 less than the figure reported in the prior week.
Better still, second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) in the US rose by an annualised rate of 2.5%, well above the preliminary estimate of 1.7% and comfortably above the 2.2% projected by analysts.
Nerves about Syria have pushed oil prices this week to a two-year high aiding the Canadian dollar.
In contrast, gold prices failed to benefit from the Syrian crisis keeping the South African rand at multi-year lows.