LONDON: The British pound retreated on Thursday from the previous session’s multi-month highs, as investors tempered some of their optimism about the UK vaccine rollout, with the lockdown in England set to last until at least March.
Sterling surged to its highest since May 2018 against the dollar in early London trading on Wednesday and later reached an eight-month high against the euro - a move analysts attributed to the UK rolling out vaccines faster than continental Europe.
But concern about vaccine rollouts globally, and the impact of mutations of the virus, created a cautious tone in markets, and a stronger dollar, which meant that the British currency eased off these highs on Thursday. “In this environment, everything is pointing towards refuge in the dollar, even if the moves are marginal in today’s trading session,” said Simon Harvey, an FX strategist at Monex Europe. “The pound is not sheltered from this strong USD environment, despite the UK’s aggressive rate of vaccine distribution, although it remains relatively robust against other G10 peers,” he said. Britain said on Thursday it must get all the COVID-19 vaccines it had ordered and paid for, after some European Union politicians asked drugmaker AstraZeneca to divert doses from the UK to make up for a shortfall in supplies.