* Graphic: World FX rates in 2020 tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
* Graphic: Trade-weighted sterling since Brexit vote tmsnrt.rs/2hwV9Hv (Recasts, updates prices, adds fresh comment)
By Ritvik Carvalho
LONDON, April 8 (Reuters) - Sterling gained ground against the dollar on Wednesday as the U.S. currency’s rally eased a touch, and on news that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was in “clinically stable” condition after being rushed into intensive care.
Recent trading sessions have seen the pound jerked around by news of the British leader’s health but overall, the currency has traded sideways against a fluctuating dollar as investors parse incoming news on the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re looking more at a dollar movement rather than a sterling movement,” said Marshall Gittler, head of investment research at BDSwiss.
“In general, we’re seeing much less idiosyncratic movements from individual currencies - there tends to be a risk-on/risk-off move in general - everyone’s just watching the virus case count it seems.”
By 1455 GMT, the pound was 0.3% higher against the dollar at $1.2368 and 0.5% higher to the euro at 87.80 pence.
Traders also noted the pound was receiving some support from record investor demand for British government bonds.
Incoming economic data in the UK remained downbeat, weighing on the fundamental outlook for a currency that is down 7% to the dollar and almost 4% to the euro this year.
British employers’ demand for staff plummeted in March with job vacancies contracting for the first time in nearly 11 years as the coronavirus pandemic brought hiring activity to a halt, a survey of recruiters showed.
Britain’s markets watchdog the Financial Conduct Authority set out temporary measures to help companies raise cash quickly to get through the epidemic.
But only a small fraction of British companies have successfully accessed financial help from the government to withstand the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak, while scores more have failed so far, a survey showed.
Reporting by Ritvik Carvalho Editing by David Holmes