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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Pound Strikes 3-Month Low Versus Dollar

SINGAPORE -- The British pound struck a three-month low against the dollar Monday as Prime Minister Tony Blair faced a crisis over the suicide of a defense official, while oil prices hit a five-week peak on U.S. supply worries.

The dollar was steady against other currencies while Asian stocks gained a quarter of a percent. Japanese markets were closed for a national holiday.

Sterling slid in Asia after British police said at the weekend a Defense Ministry scientist at the center of a dispute over the British government's case for war in Iraq had died.

The opposition and some members of Blair's own Labour Party called on him and senior colleagues to resign over the apparent suicide of David Kelly, who was the principal source for a disputed BBC news report that Blair aides had "sexed up" evidence of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

"I think at the moment we've just got more noise, but that increase in noise is sufficient to keep people wary of sterling," said Claudio Piron, a currency strategist at Standard Chartered Bank.

"Obviously we've got people calling for resignations and so forth, but the political fallout remains a little bit to be seen."

The pound slid to around $1.5776 in early trade, its lowest since April 23, and was trading at $1.5819 at 0600 GMT. Against the euro it slipped to 71.39 pence, its weakest since June 9.

The dollar was little changed around 118.41 yen and $1.1273.

U.S. oil prices pushed above $32 per barrel for the first time in five weeks as concerns mounted over disruptions to fuel supplies in the United States, the world's biggest consumer.