Wage growth fails to overtake inflation again


After the labor market figures it was steady at $1.4363, its highest since the Brexit vote.

Sterling weakened as the data showed wages in the three months to February rose by 2.8 percent, unchanged from the growth rate in the three months to January and below a median forecast of 3.0 percent in a Reuters poll of economists.

Real earnings started shrinking a year ago, when inflation overtook pay rises after sterling crashed, but the trend finally reversed in the three months to February. The figures mean that United Kingdom workers are now getting a small real wage rise on average. "Pay growth appears to be finally benefiting from the strength of jobs growth", says Ruth Gregory, a United Kingdom economist at Capital Economics. "The unemployment rate fell, too, and is at its lowest since 1975". It has since pulled back from those highs, after lower than expected wage growth figures. Accordingly, this has implications for interest rates as it's inflation that central banks are attempting to manipulate when they tinker with rates. Despite failing to gain speed in the latest data, the headline total pay growth measure matched its strongest reading since mid-2015. "Markets are now pricing in an 85 percent chance of a rate rise".

During early trade the pound was up around 0.3% against the dollar to trade at $1.4377 - just above its previous post-referendum high set in January.

The pound has climbed to its highest level against the dollar since the Brexit vote. With unemployment at its lowest level since the 1970s, employers have begun raising pay for staff more quickly, though by less than increases of about 4 percent a year before the financial crisis.

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Halpenny suggests Sterling's rise against the Euro is an indication that the currency is now appreciating based on its own merits, rather than the weakness of other currencies.

If the pound ends the day higher, it will have made gains against the dollar for seven consecutive trading days.

The Bank of England has hinted that it could increase its main interest rate by a quarter-point to 0.75 percent at its next policy meeting on May 10.

Consumer prices rose by 2.7 per cent in the year to February, after peaking at an annual rate of 3.1 per cent in November.

Britain's currency has been supported in recent months by expectations of a Bank of England interest rate hike and growing hopes about a Brexit deal.

By 11:10 a.m. BST (6:10 a.m. ET), sterling was marginally lower against the dollar at $1.4313.