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Downbeat UK Retail Sales

The recent pound gains against the U.S. dollar were trimmed this morning, after the release of downbeat UK retail sales dampened optimism over the strength of the economy, although overall weakness in the greenback kept the pair near one-and-a-half year highs.

The pound weakened after data this morning showed that UK retail sales declined much more than expected in December.

Retail sales volumes dropped 1.5 percent from November, the Office for National Statistics said, well below economists’ forecasts in a Reuters poll for a monthly dip of 0.6 percent and more than reversing a 1.0 percent rise in November.

That marked the biggest month-on-month fall since June 2016, the month Britons voted to leave the European Union, as well as the weakest December performance for seven years.

In other news, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday that, if the UK wants access to the single market, it will have to contribute to the European Union budget and follow European jurisdiction.

Macron’s comments followed a meeting with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday.

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