November 16, 2017 / 10:32 AM / a year ago

Sterling unmoved by retail sales data; Brexit eyed

* Graphic: sterling and gilt yields

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2017

* Graphic: Trade-weighted sterling since Brexit vote

By Saikat Chatterjee

LONDON, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Sterling was only a touch higher on Thursday as investors largely ignored marginally better-than-expected retail sales data, focusing instead on uncertainty around Brexit negotiations.

The pound fell to a four-week low against the rallying euro on Wednesday, after numbers showed wages still lagging well behind inflation, keeping pressure off the Bank of England to raise interest rates again after the first hike in a decade earlier this month.

Sterling was up slightly on the day at $1.3186, having spent this month in a tight $1.30 to $1.32 band. Against the euro, it was 0.2 percent up at 89.23 pence, still close to Wednesday’s trough of 90.14 pence.

“The data is not going to be a game changer as it is all about Brexit negotiations at the moment and sterling is going to be trading in a tight range until we see further clarity on that,” said Viraj Patel, an FX strategist at ING in London.

British retail sales recorded their first year-on-year decline since 2013 last month, despite solid growth in volumes from September, as households battled with fast-rising prices.

Data on Tuesday had put UK consumer price inflation at 3.0 percent in October, lagging expectations.

Wednesday’s numbers also showed the number of people in work in Britain fell by the most in more than two years in the three months to September, in the latest sign of weakness in Britain’s Brexit-bound economy.

Progress at a Brussels summit between European and British negotiatiors next month is seen as an important milestone in the Brexit talks, as businesses seek clarity by the new year when many will take investment decisions dependent on conditions.

“The pound has been undermined by a combination of softer UK economic data releases, heightened domestic political uncertainty and building Brexit concerns ahead of next month’s EU Leaders Summit,” wrote MUFG currency strategist Lee Hardman, in a note to clients.

“The pound is likely to prove sensitive to negative economic data releases in the near-term, given that the BoE has signalled that it is not in a rush to follow up their first hike from earlier this month.” (Reporting by Saikat Chaterjee Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

0 : 0
  • narrow-browser-and-phone
  • medium-browser-and-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser
  • wide-browser-and-larger
  • medium-browser-and-landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser-and-larger
  • above-phone
  • portrait-tablet-and-above
  • above-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet-and-above
  • landscape-tablet-and-medium-wide-browser
  • portrait-tablet-and-below
  • landscape-tablet-and-below