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Sterling (GBP) Knocked off Highs by Surprising Fall in UK Retail Sales - (19th January 2018)
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Today's News: Sterling (GBP) Knocked off Highs by Surprising Fall in UK Retail Sales

Pound Sterling (GBP)

The Pound saw mixed performance on Thursday, amid a lack of news to affect trade in the British currency. Sterling was largely able to hold onto the gains it saw on Wednesday though, despite news that most economists expected the Bank of England (BoE) to remain in ‘wait and see’ mode until November at the earliest.

However, Sterling slipped from its best levels on Friday following the publication of Britain’s December retail sales report – which fell short of expectations. The month-on-month figure fell from 1% to -1.5% rather than the expected -0.6%, while the yearly result slipped from 1.5% to 1.4% rather than rising to the forecast 3%.

Over the next week Sterling trade will be influenced by UK job market and growth results, but any developments on the Brexit process have the potential to affect the Pound too.

US Dollar (USD)

The Pound to US Dollar exchange rate has seen another week of steady gains this week. Ahead of the publication of Britain’s December retail sales report, GBP/USD was trending near its best levels since the 2016 Brexit vote.

On top of Bank of England speculation driving Sterling higher, GBP/USD has benefitted from monetary policy uncertainty, as well as political deadlock in the US. Federal Reserve officials appear to be in disagreement about how many interest rate hikes the US should have in 2018. The US Dollar was also weighed towards the end of the week by concerns that the US government was facing a shutdown, due to disagreements over funding in Congress.

US data has failed to impress USD investors too, although next week’s US Gross Domestic Product (GDP) projections for Q4 2017 are likely to be particularly influential.

Euro (EUR)

The Pound to Euro exchange rate was able to hold its ground on Thursday due to central bank speculation. Pound investors remained optimistic thanks to hawkish comments made by Bank of England (BoE) policymaker Michael Saunders on Wednesday, while the Euro has been under pressure ahead of next week’s European Central Bank (ECB) policy decision.

High ranking ECB officials have recently expressed concern over the value of the shared currency, arguing that its recent strength does not correlate to improvements in economic fundamentals.

As a result, the Euro has fallen from its highs, and is currently stalled as investors await next week’s policy decision before making fresh big moves on the currency.

Australian Dollar (AUD)

The Pound to Australian Dollar exchange rate has spent all week trending within a tight band close to the week’s opening levels and continues to trend close to these levels.

Throughout the week the Australian Dollar has been supported by domestic data, although it has not been impressive enough to push GBP/AUD lower, due partially to a more appealing Pound.

Next week’s Australian economic calendar will be relatively quiet, so GBP/AUD trade is likely to focus on Pound movement and risk-sentiment.

New Zealand Dollar (NZD)

The Pound to New Zealand Dollar exchange rate climbed towards the end of the week, due to a stronger Pound and aided by a lack of news to support New Zealand Dollar trade.

While the New Zealand Dollar was supported earlier in the week by a rise in dairy prices, the currency was weighed down on Friday by December’s NZ business PMI. The PMI slowed from 57.7 to just 51.2.

NZD could find fresh support next week however, if New Zealand’s Q4 inflation report impresses investors.

Canadian Dollar (CAD)

The Pound to Canadian Dollar exchange rate could be on track to end the week near its best levels in a month on a more appealing Pound as well as trade concerns weighing on the Canadian Dollar.

In recent weeks, markets have become much more concerned that US President Donald Trump could pull the US out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). As the US is Canada’s biggest trade partner, the potential for damaged trade links between the nations has been highly concerning for CAD traders. The Bank of Canada (BOC) also expressed concerns about NAFTA when it hiked Canada’s interest rates earlier in the week.

Next week will see the publication of Canada’s key November retail sales and December inflation results, which could influence the Canadian Dollar outlook.

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