Although sterling was the undisputed leader of the major currency pack the antipodean dollars were not far behind. The Australian dollar took third place, losing four fifths of a cent to sterling and strengthening by four fifths of a US cent. Economic data from Australia were vaguely supportive but not overwhelmingly so. Mortgage lending was respectable, consumer confidence inched higher and unemployment ticked up to 5.8% in December despite the addition of 13.5k jobs.
The UK ecostats for inflation and employment were decent enough but it was the Prime Minister's Brexit speech that took sterling ahead. Its main points had been leaked the previous evening so investors were not shocked to hear that there would be a clean break - otherwise known as a hard Brexit. They were actively pleased to learn that there would be a transitional period and that parliament will have a vote on whatever deal is agreed with the EU.