UK’s sterling declined slightly after hitting new multi-day highs against its major counterparts in early Asian trading on Friday.
Latest survey results published today by the GfK NOP organization showed that consumer confidence in Great Britain declined for the second consecutive month in April.
The organization’s consumer confidence index fell to a reading of minus-16 from the March reading of minus-15. The reading was in line with the forecasts of most economists.
At the same time, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research said UK economic growth is likely to be weaker than previously forecast.
The pound eased to 1.6609 against the Swiss franc around 7:05 pm ET from a 4-day high of 1.6672 hit earlier in the session. The pound-franc pair is currently worth near Thursday’s North American session close of 1.6610.
The pound that rose to a 3-day high of 144.55 against the yen and 1.5366 against the US dollar around 6:35 pm ET Thursday pulled back and hit as low as 144.03 and 1.5338, respectively around 8:20 pm ET. The pound closed yesterday’s deals at 144.09 against the yen and 1.5323 against the greenback.
From the U.S., a report from the Labor Department on Thursday showed that first time jobless claims fell to 448,000 in the week ended April 24th from the previous week’s revised figure of 459,000. Economists had been expecting jobless claims to slip to 445,000 from the 456,000 originally reported for the previous week.
Industrial production in Japan was up 0.3 percent in March compared to the previous month, the ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said today. That was below expectations for a 0.8 percent increase following the 0.7 percent contraction in February.
On an annual basis, industrial output surged 30.7 percent – again missing expectations for a 31.1 percent increase following the 31.3 percent spike in the previous month.
Japan’s unemployment and consumer price index reports, which were released today likely influenced the yen.
The pound that jumped to a 2-day high of 0.8631 against the euro by 6:40 pm ET shed almost 10 pips shortly and the pair is presently worth near Thursday’s New York session closing value of 0.8640.
The euro alleviated its selling pressure as Greek debt worries eased a little amid reports that the European Union is likely to agree on a bailout package within the next few days, in order to prevent the debt crisis from spreading across the continent.
Looking ahead, March unemployment and April CPI data from the euro-zone and Italy and the PPI for March and non-farm payrolls data for the first quarter from France are expected in the upcoming European session.
Turning to the U.S., the markets are likely to focus on the advance reading on first quarter gross domestic product along with data on Chicago-area manufacturing activity and consumer sentiment.