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Sterling steadies ahead of retail sales data
September 20, 2017 / 8:09 AM / in 3 months

Sterling steadies ahead of retail sales data

* Graphic: sterling and gilt yields bit.ly/2dgAXn1

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2017 tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

* Graphic: Trade-weighted sterling since Brexit vote tmsnrt.rs/2hwV9Hv

By Jemima Kelly

LONDON, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Sterling steadied just above $1.35 on Wednesday, as traders eyed UK retail sales data for their next steer on a currency that has climbed around 6 percent against the dollar in the past four weeks.

The pound see-sawed on Tuesday, jumping on a report that Britain’s foreign minister Boris Johnson could resign before the weekend if his demands over Brexit were not met, before easing back after Johnson denied he would quit.

But it was steadier on Wednesday at $1.3520 ahead of the retail sales numbers due at 0830 GMT, which were expected to show year-on-year growth slowed in August to 1.1 percent, from 1.3 percent in July.

Sterling was also flat against the euro, at 88.75 pence .

“Markets are cross-eyed between the Bank of England’s hawkish words and the tumult of Brexit,” said Peter Rosenstreich, Swissquote analyst, in a note to clients.

“So far, the pound’s post-Brexit-election plunge has supported the UK economy, yet headwinds are increasing. A rate hike might be needed, but it is unlikely as domestic outlook is softening and real wages are falling.”

Sterling rose as much as 3.3 percent last week alone after the Bank of England signalled that it was likely to raise interest rates in the “coming months”. (Reporting by Jemima Kelly Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

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