The pound traded mixed against its major rivals in European deals on Thursday, after the release of U.K. retail sales data in February.
While the pound rose against the greenback and the yen after better-than-expected retail sales data, it was lower against the franc and the euro due to escalating conflict in Yemen.
British retail sales growth accelerated more than expected in February, data from the Office for National Statistics showed.
Retail sales volume increased at a faster pace of 0.7 percent in February from January, when it gained 0.1 percent. The monthly growth exceeded a 0.4 percent increase forecast by economists.
Sales excluding auto fuel also increased 0.7 percent and reversed January’s 0.3 percent fall. It was forecast to rise by 0.4 percent.
On a yearly basis, retail sales including automotive fuel rose 5.7 percent in February, slower than a 5.9 percent rise seen in January.
European stocks are trading in a negative territory, as Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states began air strikes against Houthi fighters in Yemen’s capital. The Iran-backed rebels are reportedly besieging Aden, the country’s second largest city, but forces loyal to the President say that they recaptured the city airport on Thursday after heavy fighting with Houthi fighters.
The pound added 0.8 percent to hit a weekly high of 1.4993 against the dollar, from its previous low of 1.4871. If the pound-dollar pair extends rise, it is likely to find resistance around the 1.50 zone.
The pound bounced off to 177.52 against the yen, up by 0.6 percent from a new 7-week low of 176.47 hit at 2:45 am ET. Extension of the pound’s uptrend may take it to a resistance surrounding the 180.00 zone.
Although the pound edged up to 0.7356 against the euro immediately after the data, it fell back in a short while. The pair was trading at 0.7380, compared to Wednesday’s closing value of 0.7369.
German consumer confidence is set to improve in April, survey data from the market research group GfK showed.
The forward-looking consumer sentiment index rose to 10 in April from 9.7 points in March. The index was expected to rise marginally to 9.8.
The pound moved down to a 2-day low of 1.4205 against the Swiss franc, compared to 1.4275 hit at Wednesday’s close. The pound is seen finding support around the 1.40 mark.
In the New York session, U.S. weekly jobless claims for the week ended March 21 and Markit’s U.S. PMI reports for March are slated for release.
At 9:00 am ET, U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart will deliver a speech about the economic outlook and monetary policy at the Engage International Investment Education Symposium, in Detroit.
Subsequently, European Central Bank president Mario Draghi will address the Italian parliament’s finance and EU policy committees in Rome at 9:15 am ET. After 15 minutes, Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz is expected to speak at the Canada-UK Chamber of Commerce, in London.
Swiss National Bank member Fritz Zurbrugg will deliver a speech about monetary policy after the cap at the Money Market Event, in Zurich at 1:00 pm ET. Half-an-hour later, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney will hold a press conference about his role as Chair of the Financial Stability Board, in Frankfurt.
The material has been provided by InstaForex Company – www.instaforex.com