More very strong data in the UK: This time it’s retail sales that are coming in well above expectations.
From the UK’s Office of National Statistics:
— In April 2014, the quantity bought in the retail industry increased by 6.9% compared with April 2013 and by 1.3% compared with March 2014. This was the highest year-on-year growth in the quantity bought since May 2004 and continued a pattern of year-on-year growth since early 2013
— The underlying pattern, as expressed by the rolling three month on three month growth rate, was one of growth, with the quantity bought increasing by 1.8%. This was the highest since March 2004 and was the 14th consecutive month of three-month-on-three month growth in the quantity bought.
— With the exception of petrol stations, all stores saw year-on-year increases in sales volumes. Notably the food sector posted its strongest year-on-year growth since January 2002, increasing by 6.3%. Feedback from food store retailers suggested that a better than expected Easter and better weather conditions helped to boost sales.
Meanwhile, the pound is on an absolute tear. It’s been surging all morning (in part, perhaps, due to the BOE minutes, which just came out, indicating a more balanced view on future rate hikes).
Obviously the market is expecting faster growth and eventually higher rates in the UK.
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