The pound enjoyed a solid day of gains in the market yesterday rising to within one cent of its January high’s against both the euro and the US dollar finding support in the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The ONS reported that UK industrial production grew by 0.9% in February and by another 2.7% in the year to February 2014.
Encouragingly, there were upward contributions from three of the main sectors (manufacturing with a 1% increase in output; production in mining and quarrying grew by 3.5% and in water supply and sewage by another 0.2% and oil and gas extraction saw growth of 6,7%).
Meanwhile the British Retail Consortium (BRC) reported that UK high street prices fell for the eleventh month in a row in March as retailers continue to have to fight for business from still cash-strapped shoppers with overall shop prices dropping by 1.7% in March following the 1.4% fall in February.
BRC Director-General Helen Dickinson commented that "Retailers have been responding to their customers with keen prices and promotions to maintain market share. With food and drink representing 15% of disposable income for the least affluent third of households, retail's significant contribution to maintaining standards of living is clear."
The euro was hit after German statistics office Destatis reported that German exports fell by a bigger margin than had been expected by analysts in February.
A 1.3% fall in the level of exports came as a nasty surprise but analysts were quick to point out that some softness had been expected “as both the US and emerging markets have been weak in early 2014”.