Sterling boosted in surprisingly good news on the U.K. consumer. The pound climbed close to $1.50, reaching its strongest level in a week, after British retail sales rose 0.7 percent in February while the decline in January got erased and revised to a gain. Forecasts called for a more modest increase in spending of 0.4 percent. The data suggested consumers were benefiting from falling inflation which can help offset low wage growth. But with underlying sentiment skewed bearish, amid dampened expectations for a U.K. rate hike and jitters over a looming election in May, gains for the pound are liable to be short-lived.
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