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Sterling hits four-year high against dollar

The pound set another four-year high against the US dollar today, cheering holidaymakers and shoppers but posing a problem for attempts to re-balance growth with a focus on manufacturing and exports.

Sterling's recent strength has contributed to low inflation as it means imports are relatively cheaper in shops, while it also means UK tourists can get more for their money when travelling abroad.

However, the ongoing struggle to revive the beleaguered manufacturing sector will not be helped by key export markets finding that goods stamped with the Made in Britain label are ever more expensive.

The pound climbed to $1.68 at one point today, the highest level since late 2009, though later fell back a little. It came as a Rightmove survey showed house sellers' asking prices had seen their biggest year-on-year jump since 2007.

Bank of England policymakers have said they are keeping a watchful eye on the property market for signs of overheating that could create an unsustainable bubble.

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