Sterling recovers before Bank of England announces new governor

Elizabeth Howcroft

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2019 http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

* Graphic: Trade-weighted sterling since Brexit vote http://tmsnrt.rs/2hwV9Hv

LONDON, Dec 19 (Reuters) - The pound was up in early London trading on Friday, holding just above $1.30, as investors waited for the Bank of England to announce its new governor.

A person familiar with the process said that the job will go to a former Bank of England deputy governor, Andrew Bailey. The BBC reported on Oct. 31 that Minouche Shafik was the government's favourite candidate.

The pound rose 0.2% versus the dollar at $1.3026, having slipped below $1.30 in overnight trading. Versus the euro it was up around 0.2% at 85.39 pence.

"Following the colossal rejection of 1.3500 in GBP, we are now finally entering the primary support zone (1.2990 touched), so if you are bullish GBP into 2020 (and who isn't!), then this may be the place to take a shot," Stephen Innes, a strategist at AxiTrader, wrote in a note to clients.

Also on Friday, the British parliament will vote on UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit withdrawal agreement bill. Since Johnson's government has a large majority, the bill is expected to pass easily.

The bill differs from the version presented to parliament in October in that a clause on workers' rights has been removed and the bill now prohibits the extension of the transition period beyond 2020.

"Things seem to be calming down on the home front in the UK but that is not necessarily good news for GBP bulls," Commerzbank strategist Thu Lan Nguyen wrote in a note to clients. (Editing by Larry King)