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UK economy news and analysis:

  • The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) survey of the UK distributive trades suggests a strong pickup in retail sales in April.
  • Its monthly sales balance jumped to +13 from -18 in March, well above the predicted reading of zero.

UK retail sales rising

UK retail sales likely improved strongly in April, according to the latest data from the Confederation of British Industry, with the trade body’s monthly sales balance jumping to +13 from -18 in March – a much stronger recovery than the rise to zero predicted by economists.

The improvement means that retail sales in the UK grew for the first time since last November in the year to April. Orders placed on suppliers also grew and are expected to pick up further in the month ahead, with sales volumes set to see somewhat faster growth too. However, the CBI also reported that a late Easter may have had an impact.

“It’s encouraging to see retailers with more of a spring in their step than in recent months. The recent pick up in real wages is a welcome support to the sector, making the Pound in people’s pockets stretch that bit further, said Rain Newton-Smith, the CBI chief economist.

“However, this month’s sales growth will have been distorted by the later timing of Easter, and falling sales in clothing and department stores underline how challenging underlying conditions remain,” she added.

The data had limited impact on the Pound, with GBPUSD sliding in European trading hours Thursday.

GBPUSD Price Chart, Five-Minute Timeframe (April 25, 2019)

Latest GBPUSD price chart.

Chart by IG (You can click on it for a larger image)

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--- Written by Martin Essex, Analyst and Editor

Feel free to contact me via the comments section below, via email at martin.essex@ig.com or on Twitter @MartinSEssex