The headline release from the US yesterday was October’s retail sales figures, which showed healthy month-over-month growth of 0.8%. This was some way better than the 0.5% expected and a marked improvement on the previous month’s figure of 0.1%. It is the largest increase in retail sales since May and was mainly down to rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Florence.
Initial jobless claims up to 10 November 2018 were slightly worse than expectations, rising to 216,000 from 214,000 the previous week and above the 212,000 the markets had been expecting. Still, it is possible that the Veterans Day holiday affected the reading and even if it didn’t, US employment has been performing exceptionally well for some time now.
Like the euro, the dollar soared against sterling, though this was down to the pound’s weakness rather than dollar strength. The pound fell below $1.2750 several times throughout the day and when we consider that it touched $1.3030 earlier, we begin to get a sense of how dramatic the weakening was.
Today we will see industrial and manufacturing production figures for October, but attention will still largely be on UK politics, Brexit and the pound’s performance.
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