The British pound continued a frantic two-month rise against the euro and the dollar, reaching new highs this week in a sign of traders’ enthusiasm for the country’s vaccination roll-out.
Just before Christmas, investors feared the country would leave the European single market without a post-Brexit trade agreement.
At the same time, a deadly second wave and new, more transmissible coronavirus variants pushed infection rates up and saw the death toll soar.
It currently stands at more than 120,000 — one of the worst in the world.
But since December, the pound has gained more than five percent against the euro and US dollar, making it a top performer among major currencies.
The jump is due to the number of people vaccinated: according to the government, one adult in three has already received a first dose, representing more than 17.5 million people.
Another reason for optimism is Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s publication Monday of a “cautious but irreversible” roadmap to ease lockdown restrictions by July.
“After a year in which the government’s reputation was soured by a string of policy U-turns, the UK has made good decisions regarding vaccines,” Jane Foley, head of FX strategy at Rabobank, told AFP.
“The vaccine rollout has improved the economic outlook in the UK relative to elsewhere, especially in the EU,” Capital Economics added in a note.