No news is good news for pound pinned near $1.29

LONDON (Reuters) - Sterling traded within a cent’s range against the dollar on Friday, pinned near the $1.29 mark as a lack of news around ongoing Brexit trade negotiations left investors reluctant to bet big on the currency.

FILE PHOTO: A British pound note is seen in front of a stock graph in this November 7, 2016 picture illustration. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

Britain resumed talks with the European Union over a post-Brexit trade agreement this week. Fisheries and rules governing state subsidies to business are the two critical issues in the negotiations, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Thursday.

“Those were the big problems before too, so it’s no big news,” said Marshall Gittler, head of research at BDSwiss.

“European Council President (Charles) Michel said they would probably assess the state of the talks next week with Brussels hoping to start the ratification process in mid-November. That should be positive for sterling, if indeed it happens,” Gittler added.

By 1530 GMT, sterling was up 0.1% against the dollar at $1.2941.

The pound has largely ignored the ongoing Brexit talks, with some analysts saying that even if a Brexit deal were confirmed, it would be unlikely that sterling would benefit handsomely. Still, some seemed to take a lack of news as good news.

“Brexit news has simmered since talks resumed last week, a sign that we are in the intense phase of negotiations as we move towards a trade deal,” said Mark Dowding, chief investment officer at BlueBay Asset Management. “We remain long the pound.”

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier on Friday said the EU and Britain are working hard for a Brexit trade deal but much remains to be done.

Sterling was stronger against the euro by 0.1% at 90.26 pence.

“Euro-sterling remains immune to global factors and with rising odds of an eventual UK-EU trade deal, the upside to the cross should be fairly limited,” analysts at ING said.

“Spikes in euro-sterling should be faded to position for a break below the 90 pence level.”

Reporting by Ritvik Carvalho; Editing by Mark Heinrich and David Holmes