GBP/EUR UK Retail Sales Soar Despite Consumers Being Squeezed
  • Pound (GBP) rises after stronger-than-forecast data
  • UK consumer confidence & retail sales rise
  • Euro (EUR) falls despite hawkish comments from Lagarde
  • Recession risks in the eurozone were rising

The Pound Euro (GBP/EUR) exchange rate is rising after two days of modest losses. The pair fell -0.05% last week, settling at €1.1448 after trading in a range between €1.1399 – €1.1501. At 10:45 UTC, GBP/EUR trades +0.4% at €1.1493.

The pound is pushing higher after UK consumer confidence and retail sales unexpectedly rose. GFK consumer confidence rose to -44, up from -47 after Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister and steadied the ship after the chaos of Liz Truss’ government. Even so, this is still near the record low of -49 reached in September around the time of Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget.

The upbeat mood found extra support from stronger-than-forecast retail sales. Sales rebounded in October, rising 0.6% month on month after falling -1.5% in September after shops closed for the Queen’s funeral. This was double the 0.3% rise that analysts had been expecting.

Delving deeper in the numbers, sales volumes fell 2.4% in the three months to October, reflecting the squeeze that household finances were feeling from high inflation.

With interest rates rising and the Chancellor raising taxes, as he laid out in the Autumn Budget, the squeeze on household incomes is set to continue. This means that retail sales could struggle to rise over in the near term.

The euro is falling against the pound but rising against the US dollar after a speech from European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde. Lagarde said that interest rates may need to be lifted higher to restrict growth sufficiently to tame inflation.

Data yesterday showed that inflation in the region rose to a record 10.6% year on year yesterday, up from 9.9% in September, but was slightly below the 1.7% preliminary reading.

Lagarde added that the risk of the eurozone tipping into a recession had increased. But she didn’t consider that the downturn alone would be enough to bring inflation back to the 2% target.