The pound rose above $1.62 to the highest level in almost nine months after reports showed house prices climbed the most in six years and mortgage approvals increased, adding to signs the economy is gaining momentum.
The forint strengthened against the euro, paring last week’s losses on speculation Hungary will resume talks with the International Monetary Fund while European stress tests added to optimism about the global recovery.
German companies are more bullish on the euro’s prospects over the next three months than at any time since February, showing confidence in the ability of the European Central Bank’s interest-rate cuts to spur the economy.
South Africa’s rand gained the most in more than a week after European finance ministers said measures to curb the region’s debt crisis won’t tip the economy back into recession, boosting appetite for higher-yield assets.
The pound weakened against the euro after a report showed U.K. manufacturing growth unexpectedly stalled in February, fueling speculation that the Bank of England will keep interest rates lower for longer.