(Adds context, quotes)
By Tom Finn
LONDON, April 19 (Reuters) - Sterling on Thursday fell after
disappointing UK retail sales data added to concerns about how
many interest rate hikes the Bank of England will pursue this
The pound, among the best-performing G10 currencies this
year, rose to a fresh post-Brexit vote high this week but is now
down for the week after data showing slowing inflation and the
retail sales numbers encouraged investors to cut their sterling
On Thursday, the pound fell 0.3 percent to $1.4161 after
British retail sales recorded their biggest quarterly fall in a
year during the three months to March when unusually cold
weather kept shoppers at home.
Against the euro, the pound fell 0.1 percent to 87.155
Sterling on Wednesday posted its biggest loss in 6 weeks
against the dollar after UK inflation unexpectedly cooled to a
Most economists still expect the BoE to raise its key
interest rate to 0.75 percent in May to help curb inflation.
But softer-than-expected construction and employment data
this month have cast into doubt the viability of a second hike
later in 2018.
"The May meeting could in fact be a 'dovish hike' whereby
BoE would raise interest rates but temper market expectations,"
Hamish Muress, currency analyst at OFX, said in a note.
"Sterling bulls will have to wait until February 2019 for
The British currency has had a strong run against the dollar
in part because fears over Brexit have faded since the UK last
month secured a transition agreement for an exit from the EU.
On Wednesday the U.K.'s House of Lords voted against a key
part of Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit policy, inflicting a
defeat on the government that could eventually push it toward
keeping closer ties with the European Union.
(Reporting by Tom Finn
Editing by Tommy Wilkes and Jon Boyle)
© 2018 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved. Reuters content is the intellectual property of Thomson Reuters or its third party content providers. Any copying, republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. "Reuters" and the Reuters Logo are trademarks of Thomson Reuters and its affiliated companies.