British Pound (GBP) Exchange Rate Advances on Australian Dollar, Euro, US Dollar
The British Pound made solid gains against the US Dollar, Euro and most other major peers on Wednesday after data showed that UK retail sales soared in April and as the Bank of England appears to becoming more hawkish regarding an interest rate rise.
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According to the UK’s Office for National Statistics, retail sales soared by 1.3% in April and by 6.9% on a year-on-year basis.
Sales excluding fuel rose by 1.8% month by month and by 7.7% year-on-year.
“Notably the food sector posted its strongest year-on-year growth since January 2002, increasing by 6.3%. Feedback from food store retailers suggested that a better than expected Easter and better weather conditions helped to boost sales,” said the ONS.
Also bolstering support for the Pound was the Bank of England minutes for its latest policy meeting.
The minutes showed that the Monetary Policy Committee voted unanimously to maintain interest rates at the record low level of 0.5%.
The minutes also showed that some policy makers are becoming more hawkish to the idea that the BoE should increase rates soon as the UK economy continues to go from strength to strength.
“Committee members placed different weights on these considerations and this was reflected in a variety of views on the appropriate path of monetary policy. The Committee would continue to refine its views as the economy evolved, and for some members the monetary policy decision was becoming more balanced,” said the minutes.
Against the Euro, the Pound is trading at its highest-level in 16 months. Against the US Dollar the Pound is at a two-week high, and against the Australian Dollar the Pound is at its highest level in two months.
The British Pound is currently trading against the Euro in the region of 1.2326 and trading against the US Dollar in the region of 1.6895.