Sterling slumbers on despite strong United Kingdom retail sales

Jeannie Matthews
April 19, 2019

The number of temporary employees in the United Kingdom fell by 0.9% on a seasonally adjusted basis to a total of 1.54 million in the three-month period from December 2018 through to February 2019 when compared to the same period a year ago, according to the Office for National Statistics. Against the euro, sterling extended its losses and hit the day's low of 86.81 pence, down 0.3 percent.

Coming up later this afternoon will be the release of Canada's own retail sales figures, potentially denting the Pound Canadian Dollar (GBP/CAD) exchange rate if Canadian sales growth rebounded in line with expectations.

USA visitors are taking advantage of the pound's poor exchange rates against the dollar and an increase in daily flights across the pond to spend big on Britain's high streets.

British shoppers ignored worries about an impending Brexit deadline and spent heavily in March, official data showed on Thursday.

"The latest numbers leave inflation running just below the Bank of England's 2% target and should dampen somewhat the enthusiasm to raise rates - if and when Brexit uncertainty subsides - to head off the ongoing pick up in wage growth".

The CPI measures changes in the general level of prices of consumer goods and services purchased by private households.

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In the first three months of 2019, a smoother reading of spending patterns, sales grew by 1.6 percent compared with the previous three months, the strongest increase since August 2018. Adding to this, the yearly rate and core retail sales (excluding fuel) also surpassed expectations and provided a minor lift to the British Pound.

On month on month basis, however, March 2019 all items inflation was highest in Kogi (1.91%), Plateau (1.77%), and Lagos (1.63%), while Nasarawa (0.26%), Kwara (0.16%) and Enugu (0.13%).

In terms of state inflation profile, the report said price increases were highest in Kebbi (14.65 percent), Zamfara (13.15 percent) and Taraba (12.98 percent), while Kwara (9.84 percent), Cross River (9.66 percent) and Delta (9.61 percent) recorded the slowest rise in headline year-on-year inflation.

That was way above all forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists.

Apart from resurgent Dollars demand, persistent Brexit uncertainty further collaborated to the ongoing slide, though it remains to be seen if the current fall is categorized as a fresh technical breakdown as Brexit headlines could easily swing it either direction. The GBP/USD currency pair extended its losses following the release of positive retail sales data from the US docket in the early American session.

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