GBP/USD: Pound Sinks Lower With Low UK Retail Sales
  • Pound (GBP) falls for a third straight day
  • Retail sales unexpectedly fall
  • Euro (EUR) rises ahead of ECB Lagarde’s speech
  • Eurozone inflation data is due

The Pound Euro (GBP/EUR) exchange rate is falling for a third straight day. The pair fell -0.05% in the previous session, settling on Thursday at €1.1439 and trading in a range between €1.1408 – €1.1453. At 09:00 UTC, GBP/EUR trades -0.16% at €1.1424. The pair is set to fall 0.1% across the week, the second straight week of declines.

The pound is falling after UK retail sales unexpectedly slumped in October.

Retail sales declined by 0.3% month on month last month, following a downwardly revised 1.1% decline in volumes of goods sold online and in stores in September.

The data adds to the view that the Bank of England’s aggressive interest rate hiking cycle to bring down inflation is weakening the UK economy.

Economists had forecast a rise of 0.3% in October; however, instead, sales dropped to their weakest level since February 2021, when COVID lockdown restrictions were in place.

Retailers blamed the cost of living crisis, falling footfall, and bad weather for the poor performance. The data doesn’t bode well for the run-up to the Christmas season, when stores hoped to make the majority of their yearly profits.

The data comes after figures earlier in the week showed that the UK job vacancies fell by 43,000 in the third quarter, and after inflation, data showed that consumer prices cooled by more than expected.

The data suggests that the UK economy is weakening and that another rate hike from the central bank appears unlikely. Instead, the focus is on when the central bank could hike rates cut rates with the market for now pricing in a 60% probability of a May rate cut.

The euro is pushing higher with the attention on eurozone inflation data, which is expected to be released shortly and is set to confirm the preliminary reading of a cooling to 2.9% year on year in October, its lowest level in two years.

ECB president Christine Lagarde is also due to speak and her comments will be watched for any hints over when the central bank could start cutting interest rates.