UPDATE 2-Drugmakers help lift British blue-chip index to best day in almost 3 months

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UPDATE 2-Drugmakers help lift British blue-chip index to best day in almost 3 months
Credit: © Reuters.

* Drop in pound benefits resource exporters

* Primark-owner AB Foods rises on upbeat forecast

* FTSE 100 still well off pre-pandemic highs (Adds details, updates to market close)

By Sagarika Jaisinghani and Ambar Warrick

Sept 7 (Reuters) - Britain's blue-chip FTSE 100 index bounced off a near four-month low on Monday as Astrazeneca and GlaxoSmithKline rose on news about their respective COVID-19 vaccines, while a weaker pound helped exporters.

The FTSE 100 .FTSE ended 2.4% higher after a three-week losing streak, with Astrazeneca's AZN.L stock move providing the biggest boost to the index as the British drugmaker struck a deal with Australia's CSL CSL.AX to manufacture its coronavirus vaccine. GlaxoSmithKline GSK.L also rose on new details on the pricing of its vaccine. domestically-focussed FTSE 250 .FTMC rose for the first time in three sessions, up 1.7%, after a U.S.-technology rout spread into other sectors last week. .N

Still, trading volumes were muted on account of a U.S. market holiday.

British stocks sank further from pre-pandemic highs last week, as doubts persisted over an economic recovery.

The pound GBP= fell sharply after Britain warned the European Union that it could effectively override the divorce deal it signed unless the bloc agrees to a free trade deal by Oct. 15. probability of a deal seems to be reducing with state aid the surprising current sticking point ... This has certainly raised the stakes at a fraught time in talks," Deutsche Bank (DE: DBKGn ) strategist Jim Reid said.

The sterling's weakness helped major resource exporters, with BP BP.L and Rio Tinto RIO.L among the other stocks whose weightings on the FTSE 100 helped lift the index.

Shares of homebuilders .FTNMX3720 jumped 2.3% after data showed British house prices hit a record high in August, adding to signs of a post-lockdown housing market boom. Associated British Foods ABF.L rose 0.5% after saying trading in its latest quarter exceeded expectations.

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