The pound to euro exchange rate is 0.08 pct up on Wednesday's closing rate at 1.2145.

The pound to dollar rate is 0.18 pct higher at 1.5934. 

This morning we saw the UK's trade deficit widened in February as exports of goods to non-EU countries dropped, figures have shown.

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The deficit on the trade in goods and services increased to £3.4bn from a revised £2.5bn in January, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

"This pair traded sideways yesterday amid a dearth of market-moving news. Italian 10-year bond yields have calmed down a little bit and are back down at 5.50%, whilst Spain’s have also retreated slightly from the psychologically damaging 6.00% mark (trading at 5.75%). We still expect tensions to increases moving forward, starting with today’s Italian bond auction, so this may prove a brief respite," says a morning currency note from analysts Richard Driver at Caxton Fx.

Sterling is edging higher against the dollar amid a mild recovery in global stocks.

Risk appetite staged a minor recovery yesterday, with the S&P index gaining by 0.75% and the FTSE 100 by almost 1.00%.

In this environment, the US dollar weakened. The Fed’s Beige Book reiterated a ‘modest to moderate’ growth US outlook, whilst suggesting that last month’s weaker US jobs figure should prove to be a temporary blip.

Sterling benefitted from a stronger retail sales figure from the British Retail Consortium, which firmed beliefs that the UK economy is showing some green shoots. This pair trades up above $1.59 but as ever looks slightly overextended at these levels.