Sterling soars close to 3-year high above $1.40

(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 28, 2017, newly issued 12-sided £1 (one pound) coins are arranged for a photograph in London. – The British pound slid below $1.20 on September 3, 2019, for the first time since the start of 2017, as the UK faces a possible general election amid Brexit turmoil. Sterling hit $1.1972 around 0640 GMT, as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces a rebellion by his own lawmakers over his Brexit strategy that could result in an early general election next month. (Photo by Justin TALLIS / AFP)

The British pound soared above $1.40 on Friday for the first time in almost three years, propelled by a vaccination drive that has boosted economic recovery hopes.

Sterling breached the symbolic barrier for the first time since April 2018, reaching $1.4008.

“The markets are forward-looking and any softness in data during this lockdown is continuing to be shrugged off,” ThinkMarkets analyst Fawad Razaqzada told AFP after official UK figures Friday showed slumping retail sales and soaring government borrowing.

“Let’s not forget that the UK also avoided a ‘no deal’ Brexit at the end of last year, which is one of the key reasons… (for) $1.40, a level where it was trading around before that 2016 referendum” in favour of Britain’s exit from the European Union.