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Dollar continues to strengthen

Published: 7 Apr at 10 AM Tags: Dollar Exchange Rate, UK,

The US dollar continues to strengthen from recent lows after another piece of better than expected US economic data.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on Friday that the US non-farm payrolls rose by 192,000 during March and the previous two months’ tallies were revised higher by 37,000 in total.

In addition, the US unemployment rate held steady in March at February's 6.7% level.

In the UK, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reported that new car registrations in the UK shot up by 17.7% in March to reach 464,824 units, their best level since March 2004 and year-to-date registrations are running at 688,122 units, a gain of 13.7%.

In contrast, the Halifax reported that UK house prices dropped by 1.1% in March to reach £178,249, only the third fall over the past 15 months. In quarterly terms, the rate of change was up by 2.3% over the previous three months.

Critically, the number of homeowners providing instructions to put their property on the market for sale continues to decline and has done since the end of 2013.

Stephen Noakes, Mortgages Director at Halifax said: "[…] Housing demand continues to be supported by an improving economic outlook, growth in employment, rising consumer confidence and low interest rates. The recent strengthening in house price is increasing the amount of equity that many homeowners have in their home. This will potentially encourage and enable more owners to put their property on the market for sale over the coming year, therefore boosting supply and easing pressure on prices."

Meanwhile, Chancellor George Osborne is facing demands to cut the top rate of tax again to 40p after the latest batch of data suggested the wealthy had paid more tax since he cut the top rate of tax from 50p to its current level of 45p after it was reported that the amount raised from top-rate taxpayers is expected to increase by £9 billion in the tax year 2013-14, the year that the reduction was introduced.

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