The British pound has posted slight losses in the Wednesday session. In the North American session, GBP/USD is trading at 1.3477, down 0.21% on the day. On the release front, British CB Leading Index. In the US, construction numbers were mixed. Building Permits remained steady at 1.35 million, matching the forecast. Housing Starts dropped to 1.29 million, short of the estimate of 1.32 million. On Thursday, the U.S releases Philly Fed Manufacturing Index and unemployment claims.
British employment numbers were a mix on Tuesday. Unemployment claims and wage growth both missed their forecasts, but the unemployment rate remained steady, and the participation rate rose to 75.6%, the highest rate ever recorded. Policymakers at the Bank of England will have to digest the mixed job numbers, as the employment market and wage growth will be important factors in the bank’s thought process regarding rate future rate hikes. Weak economic numbers dissuaded the BoE from raising rates last week, but if second-quarter data is stronger, the bank could press the rate trigger at its August meeting.
In the U.S, retail sales and core retail sales posted gains in April, although both indicators fell short of the estimates. Still, consumer spending is improving after a sluggish first quarter. Investors liked what they saw, and the US dollar was broadly higher on Tuesday. At the same time, a new concern is higher gas prices, which could put a dent in consumers’ wallets and hurt spending. Oil prices have hit their highest levels in over 3 years, and with the US leaving the Iran nuclear deal and escalating tensions in the Middle East, gasoline prices could remain at high levels.