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Sterling Falls as U.K. Retail Sales Slump in December

1/18/2019, 6:24:17 PMBasics of Trading
 Sterling Falls as U.K. Retail Sales Slump in December

The pound was lower on Friday as Brexit continued to put pressure on the economy.

U.K. retail sales fell for the first time since March, as consumer spending slowdowns as Brexit nears.

GBP/USD decreased 0.34% to 1.2938 as of 4:48 AM ET (9:48 GMT) while EUR/GBP rose 0.40% to 0.8805.

Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal was defeated in parliament on Tuesday but she won a subsequent vote of confidence, which has helped ease political tensions. Still, questions remain over whether or not the country will be able to strike a deal with European Union before the deadline to leave the bloc on March 29 or if the deadline will be extended.

The U.S. dollar was little changed as investors wait for more progress on U.S.-China trade talks.

A Wall Street Journal report that U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is in favor easing tariffs on Chinese products sent U.S. stocks and the dollar higher, despite the Treasury Department denying the news.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a basket of six major currencies, rose 0.07% to 95.782.

The yen, typically sought by investors as a safe haven during times of economic or market stress, was lower against the dollar, with USD/JPY rising 0.32% to 109.56.

Elsewhere, the euro was flat at 1.1392.

The risk sensitive Australian and New Zealand dollars were lower, with AUD/USD falling 0.13% to 0.7179 and NZD/USD slipping 0.16% to 0.6750.