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Pound Falls As Weak U.K. Retail Sales Data Raises BoE Rate Cut Hopes

The pound slipped against its major counterparts in the European session on Friday, as U.K. retail sales declined unexpectedly in December, boosting expectations that the Bank of England is likely to cut interest rates as soon as this month.

Data from the Office for National Statistics showed that retail sales volume, including auto fuel, dropped 0.6 percent on month, following a 0.8 percent decrease in November. This was the fifth consecutive month of no growth.

Economists had forecast a monthly growth of 0.6 percent.

Excluding auto fuel, retail sales fell 0.8 percent, the same pace of decline as logged in November and in contrast to the expected growth of 0.8 percent.

The currency rose against its most major rivals in the previous session, except the euro.

After rising to a 1-week high of 0.8487 against the euro at 4:15 am ET, the pound pulled back, reaching as low as 0.8533. The next possible support for the pound is seen around the 0.88 area.

Final data from Eurostat showed that Eurozone inflation increased as estimated in December.

Inflation rose to 1.3 percent in December, as initially estimated, from 1 percent in November. A similar higher rate was last seen in June.

The pound dropped to 1.3041 against the greenback, from an 8-day high of 1.3119 seen at 4:15 am ET. If the pound slides further, it may find support around the 1.28 mark.

The pound declined to 143.73 against the yen, following more than a 4-week high of 144.53 set at 4:15 am ET. The pound is seen locating support around the 142.00 level.

Data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed that Japan’s tertiary industry activity rose at a faster-than-expected pace in November.

The tertiary industry activity index rose 1.3 percent month-on-month in November. Economists had forecast 1.0 percent rise.

Having climbed to a 4-day high of 1.2662 at 4:15 am ET, the pound reversed direction and fell to 1.2587 against the franc. On the downside, 1.24 is possibly seen as the next support level for the pound.

Data from the Federal Statistical Office showed that Switzerland’s producer and import prices declined in December.

The producer and import prices fell 1.7 percent year-on-year in December.

Looking ahead, U.S. building permits, housing starts and industrial production, all for December, as well as University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer sentiment index for January are set for release in the New York session.

The material has been provided by InstaForex Company – www.instaforex.com