LONDON, June 2 (Reuters) – Sterling trimmed earlier gains on Wednesday as the one-off positive currency effects of the collapse of Prudential’s attempt to buy AIG’s Asian arm subsided.
The pound had risen broadly in early trade after British insurer Prudential plc (PRU.L) said it was withdrawing from a $35.5 billion deal to buy American International Group Inc’s (AIG.N) Asian life insurance business AIA. [ID:nTOE65100R]
Traders said Prudential had put in place a series of currency hedges, selling sterling against the dollar, when the initial bid was announced in March and these positions had needed to be unwound.
“The rally of the past two sessions has been driven solely by the news that the Prudential’s ambition to buy AIG’s Asian arm has failed and this implied that pre-deal hedging positioning have had to be unwound on a large scale,” said Audrey Childe-Freeman, senior currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman.
At 1030 GMT, sterling had eased back to trade around flat versus the dollar GBP=D4 at $1.4650, having risen to a high of $1.4771 in early London trade.
“There is no new domestic political or economic development to justify the rally of the past few sessions, which is why we would call for caution on the bullish cable trade,” added Childe-Freeman.
Versus the euro EURGBP=D4, sterling also eased to trade around flat at 83.55 pence after initially extending 18-month highs to 82.80.
Traders said there were significant stop-loss orders building underneath that level and that the technical picture was still positive for sterling versus the euro.
“There’s been a shift in the technical complexion for sterling versus the euro and that should be quite supportive,” said Credit Agricole CIB’s deputy head of foreign exchange research Daragh Maher.
“My year-end target for euro/sterling is 80 pence,” he added.
Sterling had also eased from a four-month high versus a currency basket =GBP of 80.80 to stand at 80.50, according to Bank of England data.
British mortgage approvals rose slightly more than expected in April, but unsecured lending fell for the first time since November, official data showed on Wednesday.
Separate figures from the Bank of England showed its preferred money supply gauge — M4 excluding intermediate other financial corporations — slowed sharply in April to 0.3 percent on the month.
(Editing by Ron Askew)