Pound Strengthens Against Dollar Before U.K. Retail Sales
The pound strengthened against the dollar, snapping a two-day decline, before a report economists said will show U.K. retail sales rose last month. Sterling trimmed its weekly drop versus the euro. Sales including fuel climbed 0.5 percent from December, when they fell 0.1 percent. Sterling was poised for a drop of at least 1.3 percent since Feb. 8 against all 16 of its major peers after the Bank of England released its quarterly Inflation Report on two days ago and Governor Mervyn King said Britain faced a muted economic recovery.
In other news, the G20, which represents around 90% of the global economy, are meeting in Moscow amid concerns that major trading powers may be heading towards a currency war. Earlier this week the G7 group of nations tried, but failed, to bring calm to the markets over this issue. Host country, Russia, has been urging the G20 to make stronger commitments against exchange rate manipulation.
The outlook for the U.S. job market is brightening after a government report showed a sharp drop in the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits. Weekly applications fell 27,000 to a seasonally adjusted 341,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. Outside a few weeks last month affected by seasonal distortions, that’s the lowest level in nearly five years.
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