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GBP/USD Eyes Retail Sales

Published 04/18/2024, 03:35 PM

The British pound is having a quiet week and that trend has continued on Thursday . In the North American session, GBP/USD is trading at 1.2450, down 0.04%.

Will UK retail sales improve?

The UK release retail sales for March on Friday. The market forecast for March is 0.7% y/y after a decline of 0.4% y/y in February. Today’s British Retail Consortium retail sales index jumped 3.5% y/y in March, raising hopes that the official retail sales release will also improve. The driver behind the strong gain was spending on food, as the Easter holidays fell in late March.

Retail sales have shown sharp swings in 2024, with adverse weather keeping shoppers at home and weighing on consumer spending. The weather will improve in the coming months and the Paris Olympics and Taylor Swift concerts are expected to lead to an increase in consumer spending and demand.

Inflation in the UK declined to 3.2% y/y in March, down from 3.4% in February but higher than the market estimate of 3.1%. The inflation rate fell to its lowest since September 2021 but the BoE remains cautious and is yet to signal that rate cuts are coming, especially as core inflation has proven to be sticky and is more than double the 2% target.

In the US, the Federal Reserve is none too happy about inflation accelerating in February and March. Fed Chair Powell said this week that higher-than-expected inflation would delay rate cuts and there are doubts whether the Fed will raise rates at all this year. The markets have slashed expectations for rate cuts due to the robust US economy and rising inflation.

GBP/USD Technical

  • GBP/USD tested support at 1.2451 earlier. Below, there is support at 1.2421
  • There is resistance at 1.2486 and 1.2516

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