Pound At 3 Week Low vs. Euro Following Dip in UK Retail Sales
  • Pound (GBP) rises after losses yesterday
  • UK retail sales unexpectedly falling
  • Euro (EUR) falls after PMI data
  • No eurozone data is due today

The Pound Euro (GBP/EUR) exchange rate is steady after steep losses yesterday. The pair fell -1.5% yesterday, settling at €1.1454 after trading in a range between €1.1454 – €1.1640. At 15:25 UTC, GBP/EUR trades +0.08% at €1.1460. The pair is set to fall 1.6% across the week.

The pound is tumbling, extending losses from the previous session when the Bank of England underwhelmed the market the UK central bank lifted interest rates by 0.5% as expected. However, the vote split was more dovish than what analysts had forecast, with two policymakers voting to keep interest rates on hold. This was in stark contrast to the more hawkish ECB.

Data today has been equally disappointing, with retail sales unexpectedly falling 0.4% month on month in November, down from a 0.9% rise in October and below the forecast 0.3% rise. The weak sales data comes after the GfK consumer confidence survey showed that consumer morale continued to hover around a record low for an eighth straight month. With household’s incomes being pressurized amid the cost of living crisis, consumers expect their personal financial position to deteriorate over the coming year.

Separately PMI data showed that business activity in the UK improved in December but still remained in contraction, supporting the view that the UK economy is in a recession.

The euro is pushing higher versus the pound after the ECB raised interest rates by 0.5% as expected, and the central bank upwardly revised its inflation forecast, suggesting that inflation will be more persistent than expected, meaning interest rates will need to rise higher. This was confirmed by ECB president Christine Lagarde who said that much more work raising rates still needs to be done.

Today eurozone business activity data as measured by the composite PMI raised by more than expected to 48.8, up from 47.8. However, this is still a contraction.