GBP/USD: UK Retail Sales
  • Retail sales expected -16% in April
  • Euro slips as USD rises on risk off trading as China pushed controversial security law
  • ECB minutes are awaited for clarity over why central bank kept main policy tools unchanged in April
  • At 06:15 UTC, GBP/EUR is trading +0.1% at €1.1172 >> Real time exchange rate

The Pound is pushing tentatively higher versus the Euro, extending gains from the previous session. The Euro settled on Thursday +0.25% at €1.1163, picking up from a 7-week low of €1.1111. Despite the positive close the Pound Euro exchange rate is on a downward trend, falling from its high of  €1.1530, reached on 30th April.

T 06:30 UTC GBP/EUR is trading +0.1% at €1.1172 as investors look ahead to the release of UK retail sales and the minutes from the latest European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

UK retail sales are expected to have plunged by double digits in April. The headline retail sales figure dropped by -5.1% in March. Given that the UK went into lockdown on 23rd March, the March reading only reflected a small amount of lockdown days.

The whole of the month of April Britain was under lockdown. Analysts expect retail sales to have declined -16%, a result, showing the devastating impact that the coronavirus outbreak is having on the UK economy. On an annual basis, retail sales are expected to fall -22.2%.

Should retail sales drop much worse than forecast, expectations will grow that the Bank of England could step in with further loosening action, or even negative rates.

Today’s retail sales figures come after service sector and manufacturing PMI data was slightly better than forecast, showing the pace pf contraction slowed. However, the readings were still some of the worst readings of all time.

The Euro is under pressure on Friday in risk off trading. The Euro trades inversely to the US Dollar which is drawing strong safe haven bids on Friday on rising US – China tensions. China is preparing to impose national security legalisation on Hong Kong, in a show of legal force which not only threatens to reignite the pro-democracy demonstrations of last year but also anger US.

Euro investors will look ahead to the release of the ECB minutes from the April meeting. Investors will be looking for further insight as to why the central bank decided to keep its main tools unchanged despite pledging more liquidity through its new pandemic emergency bond purchase programme if needed.

Comments that highlight the concerns over the outlook of the Eurozone economy could add pressure to the Euro.


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