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Forex News: Pound Slides As U.K. Retail Sales Fall More

Pound Slides As U.K. Retail Sales Fall More Than Forecast

04/19/2018 - 05:42:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - The pound dropped against its major counterparts in early European deals on Thursday, as a steeper than expected drop in U.K. retail sales in March reduced hopes for a Bank of England interest rate hike next month.

Data from the Office for National Statistics showed that retail sales including auto fuel, dropped 1.2 percent month-on-month in March, in contrast to a 0.8 percent rise in February. Sales were forecast to fall 0.6 percent.

Similarly, excluding auto fuel, retail sales volume dropped 0.5 percent reversing a 0.4 percent rise in February. Economists had expected a 0.4 percent decrease.

On a yearly basis, overall retail sales volume growth eased to 1.1 percent in March from 1.5 percent a month ago. Economists had forecast sales to grow at a faster pace of 1.9 percent.

Sales, excluding auto fuel, also grew by 1.1 percent after rising 1.2 percent in the previous month. The expected rate of growth was 1.4 percent.

Meanwhile, European shares were mixed as investors digested a slew of earnings reports and looked ahead to the 2018 Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group.

The currency traded mixed against its major counterparts in the Asian session. While it held steady against the euro and the greenback, it rose against the franc and the yen.

The pound declined to a 1-week low of 1.4162 against the dollar, from a high of 1.4219 hit at 3:00 am ET. On the downside, 1.39 is likely seen as the next support for the pound.

The pound slipped to a 3-day low of 1.3721 against the Swiss franc and a weekly low of 151.99 against the yen, coming off from its early highs of 1.3771 and 152.70, respectively. The pound is likely to find support around 1.34 against the Swiss franc and 150.00 against the yen.

Having advanced to 0.8709 against the euro at 2:15 am ET, the pound reversed direction and dropped to an 8-day low of 0.8736. The pound may target support around the 0.89 level, if it drops further.

Data from the European Central Bank showed that the euro area current account surplus declined in February.

The current account surplus fell to a seasonally adjusted EUR 35.1 billion in February from EUR 39 billion in January.

Looking ahead, Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard will speak about regulatory reform at the Global Finance Forum in Washington DC at 8:00 am ET.

In the New York session, U.S. weekly jobless claims for the week ended April 14 and leading index for March are scheduled for release.

Federal Reserve Governor Randal Quarles testifies on supervision and regulation before the Senate Banking Committee in Washington DC at 9:30 am ET.

The Bank of England Deputy Governor Jon Cunliffe will speak at the Global Finance Forum in Washington DC at 12:30 pm ET.

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