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Pound Weakens After U.K. Retail Sales

The pound declined against its major counterparts in the European session on Thursday after a report showed that U.K. retail sales fell more than expected for February.

U.K. retail sales declined more than expected in February, the Office for National Statistics said today.

Including automotive fuel, retail sales volume fell 0.8 percent in February from a month ago. The decline reversed a 0.3 percent rise in January and larger than the expected drop of 0.5 percent.

Sales, excluding auto fuel also declined by 0.8 percent month-on-month. The decline follows 0.6 percent growth in each in January and December.

The pound touched a 1-week low of 130.63 against the yen and a 6-day low of 1.5773 against the dollar, compared to Wednesday's close of 132.42 and 1.5875, respectively. On the downside, the pound may target 130.00 against the yen and 1.57 against the greenback.

The pound that rose to 3-day highs of 1.4529 against the franc and 0.8302 against the euro in early deals fell to as low as 1.4472 and 0.8347, respectively. If the pound slides further, it may target 1.43 against the franc and 0.84 against the euro.

In economic news, Switzerland's trade surplus increased more than expected in February, the Federal Customs Administration said today.

The trade surplus totaled CHF 2.67 billion in February, larger than January's CHF 1.49 billion and an expected surplus of CHF 1.8 billion.

A survey by Markit Economics revealed that Eurozone private sector activity deteriorated further in March.

The flash composite output index fell to a three-month low of 48.7 in March from 49.3 in February. Economists expected an improvement in the index reading to 49.6.

Canada's retail sales for January, U.S. weekly jobless claims for the week ended March 17, house price index for January and the leading indicators for February are due in the New York morning session.

by RTT Staff Writer

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