Page last updated at 16:03 GMT, Wednesday, 15 April 2009 17:03 UK

Pound rises to three-month high


Sterling rose above $1.50 on Wednesday, its highest level against the dollar since mid-January, as a UK housing survey raised hopes of a recovery.

It also rose against the euro, hitting a six-week high of 1.1372 euros.

Sterling received a boost after a survey of chartered surveyors suggested that interest from home-buyers had started to gain "real momentum".

The pound rose as high as $1.5037, but later fell back below the $1.50 mark to trade at $1.4986 in afternoon trading.

Sterling touched its lowest levels in 24 years in mid-January, nearing $1.35 as the depth of the UK's recession became clear.

A survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) found that new inquiries in the housing market had increased for the fifth consecutive month in March.

However, the study also found that surveyors had sold on average fewer than 10 homes each over the past three months.

"The strong Rics survey overnight has boosted sterling," Lee Ferridge, a currency strategist at State Street, told the Reuters news agency.

"It is higher than it was 12 months ago and people are seeing tentative signs of green shoots in the UK housing market," he added.

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