British retail sales for July grew at the slowest annual rate since November of last year, while the government failed to make much of an inroad into public borrowing, data showed on Thursday.
The figures add to signs that Britain's consumer-led recovery might be starting to slow, which leaves the government with a lot of catching up to do to meet full-year borrowing targets before May's national election.
Monthly growth in retail sales volumes unexpectedly fell to just 0.1 percent in July, down from 0.2 percent in June. Forecasts had called for a rise to 0.4 percent.
Annual growth in the volume of goods sold dropped to 2.6 percent, the weakest since last November and again below forecasts. Sales slowed despite prices falling at their fastest rate in almost five years.
The US Dollar continued to strengthen after jobless claims declined more than forecast last week, a sign the U.S. job market is making progress as the world’s largest economy grows.
Jobless claims fell by 14,000 to 298,000 in the week ended August 16th and employers are holding the line on dismissals as second-half economic growth is projected to pick up, setting the stage for more hiring to meet demand.
This reinforced the Federal Reserve policy makers’ view the labour market is strengthening, one reason they’re trimming monthly asset purchases.
The other major piece of data being released was the Philly Fed Manufacturing Index, despite being positive news it ultimately had little impact on the Dollar’s strength.
The euro was very stagnant against the pound, trading at the same level for the whole day. Euro-zone economic growth ground to a halt in the second quarter, dragged down by a shrinking economy in Germany and a stagnant France, even before any impact from sanctions imposed on and by Russia over Ukraine.
The composite PMI in Germany - Russia's biggest trade partner in the European Union has already seen exports to the country plunge in the first half of the year - fell to 54.9 from 55.7.
For France, the euro zone's second largest economy, the Composite PMI rose from 49.4 to the break-even mark at 50.
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