* Graphic: World FX rates in 2020 http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
* Graphic: Trade-weighted sterling since Brexit vote http://tmsnrt.rs/2hwV9Hv
Jan 14 (Reuters) - Sterling was barely flat against the euro
after rising earlier in the session on robust UK data, while it
edged lower against a stronger dollar.
Britain's economy grew by a much stronger-than-expected 0.9%
in November, finally taking it above its size just before the
country went into its first COVID-19 lockdown.
Despite a potential leadership change in the country after
Prime Minister Boris Johnson party scandal, the pound had
recently been immune to political noise, being supported by
expectations of rate hikes by the Bank of England this year.
The currency's trade-weighted index rose on Thursday to its
highest level since June 24 2016, the day after the Brexit
Sterling fell 0.2% to $1.3681 on Friday, within striking
distance of its highest level since Oct. 29 touched on Thursday
The U.S. dollar was on track to snap a 3-day losing streak
as a selling spree driven by the view that Fed tightening moves
were largely priced-in appeared to abate.
The pound was up 0.01% versus the euro at 83.54 pence, not
far from its highest level versus the single currency since
February 2020 hit on Tuesday.
UK data "suggests the UK economy might have had a little
insulation heading into the Covid-restricted December period,"
ING analysts said in a note.
"A 25bp BoE rate hike is still priced with an 80%
probability for the February 3rd meeting - which will likely
keep GBP supported over the coming weeks," they added.
Johnson is facing the gravest crisis of his premiership
after revelations about a series of gatherings in Downing Street
during COVID-19 lockdowns.
According to Berenberg economist Holger Schmieding, "a
conservative successor (of Johnson), for instance, Chancellor
Rishi Sunak or Foreign Secretary Lizz Truss, would likely pursue
roughly similar policies but in a much less erratic fashion."
"A calmer approach could benefit UK markets and domestic
business investment," he said.
But, "to bolster his chances to stay in office, Johnson may
be tempted to take a particularly hard line against the European
Union, for instance on Northern Ireland or fisheries," he added.
British Prime Minister is facing a revolt by grassroots
Conservative supporters who want him to resign.
"If political change does not herald policy change, markets
do not care," said Paul Donovan, chief economist at UBS.
(Reporting by Stefano Rebaudo; Editing by Emelia
Sithole-Matarise and Tomasz Janowski)