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UK Retail Sales could Test GBP/USD

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UK Retail Sales could Test GBP/USD

The GBPUSD pair edged higher Thursday amid a spate of economic data from the United States and Europe. One of the pair’s final test comes Friday with the release of UK retail sales.

The UK retail sector continued to strengthen in March, experts say. Friday’s report, courtesy of the Office for National Statistics, could show retail sales rose 3.8 percent annually in March, following a gain of 3.7 percent the previous month. Excluding fuel, retail revenues rose 4.3 percent in the 12 months through March, according to forecasts.

The British Bankers Association will also report on March mortgage approvals. The monthly indicator could show nearly 49,000 mortgages were approved last month.

The British pound rose cautiously, surpassing the 1.68 US barrier in intraday trade. In the afternoon session, the GBPUSD pair was trading at 1.68, a gain of more than 0.1 percent. The pair backtracked earlier in the day after US durable goods orders rose faster than forecasts. Orders for manufactured goods meant to last three years or more soared 2.6 percent in March, the Commerce Department reported today.

The pound’s gains were capped this week after the Bank of England’s latest meeting minutes showed officials were still uncertain about the amount of slack remaining in the economy. This could translate into weaker gains for sterling Friday should retail sales outpace forecasts.

In other trading, sterling was higher against the euro, with EURGBP falling 0.1 percent to 0.8230. The euro’s data wire is empty Friday.

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