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LONDON: The British pound hit its highest level against the dollar since April 2018 and traded just below eight-month highs against the euro on Tuesday, with analysts citing Britain’s lead in COVID-19 vaccinations as a positive for the currency.

Sterling reached $1.3798 against the dollar in late afternoon deals in London, its highest level against the greenback since April 27, 2018. Against the euro, it traded flat at 87.69 pence by 1607 GMT. Analysts have largely been constructive on the pound - particularly against the euro - this year, noting that Britain’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout has been swifter than in other European countries.

Helping the pound broadly has also been the Bank of England, which at its meeting last week pushed back at market expectations of negative interest rates.

Money markets do not reflect negative rates from the Bank at least as far out as August 2022.

Speculators increased their net long positions on the pound - bets that it will strengthen - in the week up to Feb. 2, CFTC data showed on Friday.

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