19/05/2017 - UK Retail Sales Tops Forecasts
Sterling gained on Thursday after British retail sales growth topped forecasts, easing concerns about the broader outlook for the economy this year. Retail sales volumes rose 2.3 percent on the month in April - beating economists' average forecast of a 1.0 percent rise - and turning back a 1.4 percent fall in March, official data showed.
Sterling has been struggling to push higher since it surged a month ago on the announcement of an early parliamentary election for June 8.
Weaker sales and other indicators this year have raised the prospect of a fall off in consumer spending as wage growth trails rises in inflation due to sterling's almost 20 percent fall in value in the second half of last year. That adds to signs from the Bank of England that it will not raise interest rates for another two years.
The U.S. dollar reversed early losses against a basket of major currencies on Thursday, after stronger-than-expected U.S. economic data put the focus back on a widely anticipated increase in overnight interest rates by the Federal Reserve.
The Swiss franc and Japanese yen, currencies considered safe haven investments during times of uncertainty, surrendered gains against the greenback after the release of U.S. initial jobless claims and the Philadelphia Federal Reserve's Business Index.
The number of Americans applying for jobless benefits fell to a 28-year low and the Philly Fed's business index came in at double economists' expectations.
Expectations for a rate increase by the Fed had eased in the wake of lackluster data on U.S. inflation and growth in recent weeks, as well as news about President Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey and possible ties between members of his administration and Russia.