The British pound sterling exchange traded fund has been steadily appreciating, with the currency touching a four-and-a-half year high Thursday, as traders speculate on tightening Bank of England monetary policies.

The pound sterling touched $1.6842 against the greenback Thursday, its strongest since Nov. 18, 2009, reports Clare Connaghan for the Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile, the CurrencyShares British Pound Sterling Trust (NYSEArca: FXB) remains relatively flat. The ETF has strengthened 2.6% over the past three months and rose 8.9% over the past year.

Traders are anticipating Bank of England rate hikes sooner rather than later after the U.K. government revealed the unemployment rate dipped faster-than-expected to 6.9%, a five-year low – the BoE has said before it was not ready to hike rates until unemployment fell below 7%.

“The report suggests that the labor market continues to tighten more quickly than the Bank of England expects increasing the likelihood of an earlier rate hike,” Lee Hardman, a currency analyst at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, said in the article.

Additionally, house prices increased 9.1% in the year to February, the quickest growth spurt since June 2010, writes Connaghan in a separate WSJ article.