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Pound Up As U.K. Pay Growth Accelerates To 10-year High; Employment Hits Record

The pound was higher against its major counterparts in the European session on Tuesday, as a data showed that U.K. employment climbed to another record high in December and pay growth accelerated to the highest rate since mid-2008.

Data the Office for National Statistics showed that the employment rose by 167,000 to a record high of 32.60 million in the three months to December. Economists were looking for an increase of 152,000.

The employment rate remained at 75.8 percent, which was the highest since comparable records began in 1971.

The ILO jobless rate was unchanged at 4 percent in the three months to December, which was the lowest since December 1974 to February 1975 period. Economists had expected the rate to remain steady.

Average weekly earnings excluding bonuses grew 3.4 percent year-on-year, unchanged from November, which was revised from 3.3 percent. The reading matched economists' expectations.

Including bonuses, earnings rose 3.4 percent from a year ago, which was the largest increase since July 2008. Economists had expected a 3.5 percent increase.

The currency showed mixed trading against its major counterparts in the Asian session. While it fell against the yen and the greenback, it held steady against the franc and the euro.

The pound appreciated to a 6-day high of 1.2959 against the greenback, reversing from a low of 1.2896 hit at 11:30 pm ET. Next key resistance for the pound is likely seen around the 1.31 region.

Having fallen to 1.2962 against the franc at 9:45 pm ET, the pound reversed direction and strengthened to an 8-day high of 1.3028. On the upside, 1.33 is likely seen as the next resistance level for the pound.

The U.K. currency firmed to 0.8713 against the euro, a level unseen so far this month. The pound is seen finding resistance around the 0.86 level.

Survey data from the ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research showed that Germany's investor confidence improved further to its highest level in five months in February.

The ZEW Indicator of Economic Sentiment for Germany rose to -13.4 points from -15.0 points in January. Economists had forecast a score of -13.7.

The pound climbed to a 2-week high of 143.51 against the yen, following a decline to 142.28 at 10:45 pm ET. The next possible resistance for the pound is likely seen around the 146.00 area.

Looking ahead, at 10:00 am ET, U.S. NAHB housing market index for February is scheduled for release.

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