* Pound pulls back from Tuesday's two-year high vs dollar
* Underperforms euro for second day
* Drop leads to more British exporters hedging exposure
LONDON, Dec 11 Sterling fell to a three-week low
against the euro on Wednesday on steady selling by hedge funds
trimming favourable bets while waiting for more evidence of a
durable recovery in the British economy.
The pound also pulled back from a two-year high against the
dollar reached on Tuesday after upbeat comments from Bank of
England chief Mark Carney and strong house prices. The currency
took its cue from British gilt yields that fell on Wednesday,
erasing some of the rate differentials in favour of the pound.
The pound was down 0.25 percent at $1.6405, off
Tuesday's $1.6468. Despite the latest losses, the pound is still
up for the month and nearly 5 percent higher in the past six
It underperformed the euro which extended gains
into a second straight day. The euro rose 0.5 percent against
the pound to 84.14 pence, its highest since Nov. 20, boosted by
tight liquidity conditions in the euro zone and European banks
repatriating funds to shore up their capital bases for an ECB
asset quality review.
"Profit-taking on the pound's recent gains ahead of the
holiday break appears to be the driver behind the UK currency's
fall, and comes despite a highly uncertain outlook for the euro
moving into 2014," said Mark Bolsom, head of corporate banking
at Western Union Business Solution.
"We are receiving a high number of calls after the pound
fell to a three-week low against the euro, giving British
exporters an opportunity to consider hedging at least part of
their 2014 euro exposure."
The European Central Bank's reluctance to ease policy to
beat disinflation has also helped the euro.
"In the near term, the momentum does look a bit weak for
sterling and in favour of the euro given the less dovish stance
of the ECB," Yujiro Gato, currency strategist at Nomura, said.
"But in the medium term we are bullish on sterling over the
euro given the different economic outlooks for the euro zone and
the UK. To us, sterling will still be the best-performing
Data out of British has showed slightly stronger than
forecast industrial output data, while the National Institute of
Economic and Social Research said on Tuesday that growth was
picking up. The economy grew an estimated 0.8 percent in the
three months to the end of November, up from 0.7 percent in the
three months to October.
Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member Martin
Weale said on Wednesday he was concerned about a pick up in
inflation expectations since August but blamed higher energy
prices for that.