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LONDON: Sterling steadied against the dollar on Wednesday and gained against the euro after the announcement of an expansive budget designed to prop up the British economy as it prepares for a re-opening from lockdown.

The pound traded at $1.3964 by 1341 GMT, largely unchanged, after British finance minister Rishi Sunak delivered an annual budget speech in which he announced a costly extension to emergency aid programmes and tax hikes for businesses.

The currency was 0.3% higher against the euro at 86.32 pence.

“Looking at the performance of sterling over the period of the budget suggests that the detail, most of which was widely trailed, had little material impact upon GBP,” said Jeremy Stretch, head of G10 FX strategy at CIBC.

“We have seen gilts come under a little pressure as the gilt remit, borrowing levels for 2021/22 are higher than expected. Near-term risk dynamics are as important for GBP as anything the Chancellor may have announced.”—Reuters

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