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Sterling slip after UK unemployment rises first time since mid-2015

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Sterling fell on Wednesday and gilt futures briefly rose to the day's highs after data showed the number of unemployed in Britain rising while wage growth fell short of expectations.

Official data showed the number of unemployed people in Britain rose by 21,000 in the three months to February, the first increase since the May-July period of last year. The unemployment rate held steady at 5.1 percent in the three months to February.

Total earnings of workers, including bonuses, rose by an annual 1.8 percent in the three months to February, slowing from 2.1 percent in the three months to January. Economists taking part in a Reuters poll had expected growth of 2.3 percent.

Sterling fell to the day's low of $1.4345 after the data, down 0.35 percent on the day, having traded at $1.4372 beforehand.

The euro extended gains to trade at 79.17 pence, having traded at 79.03 pence before the data was released.

British government bond futures briefly edged higher to touch a high of 120.74 after the data, 44 ticks up on the day, before slipping back to their pre-data levels.