Investing.com – The pound was trading at five-week highs against the U.S. dollar on Friday, after the release of upbeat UK economic reports, while concerns over the impact of Hurricane Irma and tensions with North Korea continued to weigh heavily on the greenback.
GBP/USD was up 0.18% at 1.3135 by 04:40 a.m. ET (08:40 GMT).
The pound found support after the UK Office for National Statistics said manufacturing production rose more than forecast in July, by 0.5%, while industrial production increased by 0.2%, in line with expectations.
A separate report showed that the UK trade deficit narrowed to £11.58 billion in July from a revised £11.53 billion the previous month, confounding expectations for the deficit to widen to £11.95 billion.
Meanwhile, sentiment on the greenback remained vulnerable as markets monitored the advancement of Hurricane Irma. The category 5 storm is projected to hit Florida over the weekend.
Market participants seemed to shrug off remarks by New York Federal Reserve President William Dudley on Thursday calling on the U.S. central bank to continue gradually raising interest rates, as low inflation should rebound.
Investors were also cautious amid speculation North Korea could launch an intercontinental ballistic missile on Saturday, which will mark the anniversary of the founding of the nation.
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he would prefer not to use military action against Pyongyang to counter its nuclear and missile threat but that if he did it would be a “very sad day” for the North-Korean leadership.
Sterling was steady against the euro, with EUR/GBP at 0.9172.
The single currency remained broadly supported after the European Central Bank left interest rates unchanged as expected and signaled that information on the tapering of the central bank’s asset-purchase program would be delivered in October.
ECB President Mario Draghi added that the outlook for growth and inflation in the euro area remained “broadly unchanged”.