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LONDON, May 18 (Reuters) - Sterling rose to $1.30 for the first time in almost eight months on Thursday after British retail sales growth topped forecasts, easing concerns about the pace of spending by consumers under pressure from higher inflation.
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.
The pound, trading at $1.2985 before the data rose 0.5 percent to $1.3043, its highest level since September 29. It also climbed to 85.46 pence per euro, up 0.7 percent on the day.
"The retail sales figure itself was the best since the start of 2016 and will go some way to allay the fears of a slowdown in consumer spending following last month’s sharp drop," said David Cheetham, chief markets analyst at XTB.
"The release marks a third consecutive day of sterling positive economic data, after both the CPI and unemployment figures surpassed estimates."
Britain's FTSE 100 hit a session low, down 0.9 percent after the data strengthened the pound, weighing on the index's largely foreign-earning constituents.
British gilt futures pared gains after the data. (Reporting by Ritvik Carvalho, Helen Reid and Andy Bruce; Editing by Patrick Graham)