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Can the Pound Stay Lifted?

Saturday, 9 Feb 2013 | 2:24 PM ET
Gonzalo Azumendi | The Image Bank | Getty Images

The British pound has been weighed down of late, what with weakness in the British economy and a leadership transition underway at the Bank of England. But last week brought some strength, and Kathy Lien says it was all about the new central bank governor-designate, Mark Carney, and his grilling by lawmakers.

"The main factor that drove the pound higher is the fact that like a polite and conservative Canadian, Carney did not step on Bank of England Governor King's toes at all and say that they should be implementing any type of new radical measures on monetary policy," says Lien, a managing director at BK Asset Management.

(Read more: CNBC Explains: Quantitative Easing)

Promising economic data has also helped the pound, Lien told CNBC's Melissa Lee, pointing to increasing industrial production and an improving trade balance. And troubles on the Continent, mainly political uncertainty in Spain and Italy, led some investors to take profits in euro-pound trades.

But will it last? Lien is skeptical.

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The British economy remains fundamentally weak, she says, and "the U.K. is still vulnerable to a downgrade of its triple-A rating." She also thinks an upcoming quarterly report on inflation may be dovish, and provide more downward pressure on the pound.

So Lien wants to sell the pound against the dollar on a little rally to 1.5865, setting a stop at 1.5965 and a target of 1.5665.

Amelia Bourdeau, director of foreign exchange at Westpac Institutional Bank, agrees that the pound's strength will probably be shortlived. Investors were "totally caught off guard" by Carney's comments, she says, and the pound rose from 1.5670 to 1.5770, a huge move, just while he was speaking.

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