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Pound Higher As UK Retail Sales Advance Unexpectedly

The pound strengthened against its most major counterparts in the early European session on Thursday, as U.K. retail sales grew unexpectedly in July despite Brexit uncertainty.

Data from the Office for National Statistics showed that retail sales volume grew 0.2 percent in July from June when sales advanced 0.9 percent. Sales were forecast to drop 0.2 percent.

Likewise, excluding auto fuel, sales gained 0.2 percent versus 0.8 percent increase in June. This was also in contrast to the expected fall of 0.2 percent.

Food store sales remained flat, while non-food store sales declined 1.4 percent. At the same time, non-store retailing grew 6.9 percent.

On a yearly basis, growth in retail sales volume slowed to 3.3 percent in July from 3.8 percent in June. Economists had forecast 2.5 percent increase.

Excluding auto fuel sales, retail sales increased 2.9 percent after rising 3.6 percent in June. The pace of growth exceeded the expected 2.3 percent.

European shares stabilized following a sell-off in the previous session on fears that a recession is looming or has already started to take hold.

Investors heaved a sigh of relief as U.S. stock futures pushed higher early this morning, a day after the Dow Jones Industrial Average saw its biggest one-day fall this year in reaction to the inversion of the U.S. yield curve.

The currency held steady against its major counterparts in the Asian session, excepting the euro.

The pound climbed to a 6-day high of 0.9220 versus the euro, from a low of 0.9251 seen at 1:00 am ET. On the upside, 0.89 is possibly seen as the next resistance level for the pound.

The pound bounced off to 1.2086 against the greenback, after dropping to 1.2051 at 10:00 pm ET. The pound is seen finding resistance around the 1.26 level.

The U.K. currency appreciated to a 2-day high of 1.1790 against the franc, after having fallen to 1.1728 at 5:45 pm ET. The next possible resistance for the pound is seen around the 1.21 level.

On the flip side, the pound held steady against the yen, following a 2-day rise to 128.85 at 2:30 am ET. The GBP/JPY pair had set a 2-day low of 127.47 early in the Asian session. The pair had ended Wednesday's trading at 127.68.

Final data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed that Japan's industrial production declined less than initially estimated in June.

Industrial production fell 3.3 percent month-on-month compared to the initial estimate of 3.6 percent decrease.

Looking ahead, Canada existing home sales for July, U.S. weekly jobless claims for the week ended August 10, retail sales and industrial production for July, New York Fed's empire manufacturing index and NAHB housing market index for August are scheduled for release in the New York session.

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