The pound has dived below $1.24 after retail sales disappointed

LONDON — The pound is sliding on Friday, passing below the 1.24 mark against the dollar for the first time in several weeks after a troublingly poor set of retail sales figures.

UK retail sales had another horrible month in January, dropping by 0.3%, as the impact of rising inflation after the Brexit vote start to damage confidence.

On an annual basis, sales grew by 1.5%. Both numbers were significantly worse than had been expected by economists polled in the run up to the data.

Prior to the release, economists had forecast month-on-month sales growth of 0.9%, with the yearly figure expected at 3.4%.

Just after 10.20 a.m. GMT (5.20 a.m. ET) sterling has poked its head above $US1.24, trading 0.67% lower at $US1.2401. Here is the chart:

The pound’s drop on Friday may reflect growing market expectations that the Bank of England will start to strike a slightly more dovish tone on interest rates if poor data like today’s retail sales start to mount up.

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