* Graphic: World FX Rates in 2020 http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
* Chart: Trade-weighted sterling since the Brexit vote http://tmsnrt.rs/2hwV9Hv
LONDON, February 14 (Reuters). The sterling held most of its gains overnight on Friday and was set for the biggest weekly rise in two months as investors raised expectations that the new UK finance minister would present a more expansionary budget next month.
Given the slow growth in the UK, many economists and investors want Britain to expand its budget spending in order to weather the impact of Britain’s exit from the European Union late last month.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson forced Finance Minister Sajid Javid’s resignation on Thursday after he refused to fire his advisers.
It was quickly replaced by loyalist Rishi Sunak, which investors interpreted as a step to tighten Johnson’s control over the Treasury and a way that would pave the way for more public spending on a March budget. Javid was considered a fiscal falcon.
The market’s conclusion is that the removal of Javid will allow Johnson to exercise more control over the Treasury, which is likely to result in a larger amount of government spending, Rabobank strategists said in a note.
“The result is that the central bank may have to cut interest rates less to support the economy – which is clearly positive for the GBP,” they said.
Expectations of a rate cut by the Bank of England before the end of 2021 are almost gone – money markets are now expecting a full 25 basis point cut, not before December 2021.
Mark Carney spoke to Reuters a month before the end of his nearly seven-year term as governor of the Bank of England and said Britain would address its main economic problem – poor productivity.
The pound remained broadly stable at $ 1.3023 on Friday, maintaining most of its gains from the move on Thursday. It had been trading below $ 1.30 before the news of Sunak’s appointment came to light.
The British currency has risen more than 1% weekly, the largest weekly increase since mid-December.
The pound fell 0.3% against the euro to 83.38, but remained at a two-month high within striking distance.
Attention will again be focused on the health of the UK economy next week, with jobs, inflation and retail sales falling. (Reporting by Tommy Reggiori Wilkes and Saikat Chatterjee; editing by Mark Heinrich and Alex Richardson)