Sterling steady before retail sales data
* Graphic: World FX rates in 2019 http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
* Graphic: Trade-weighted sterling since Brexit vote http://tmsnrt.rs/2hwV9Hv
LONDON, April 18 (Reuters) - Sterling steadied on Thursday
as traders prepared to see if British retail sales data could
shake the currency out of a recent slumber.
European Union leaders last week granted Britain an up to
six-month delay to Brexit.
The move ended a bout of wild swings in the pound and the
currency is now at its least volatile in years as investors
await a breakthrough in the EU divorce process.
The Bank of England has signalled it will lift interest
rates to stop inflationary pressures from building, but it is
highly unlikely to act until Brexit is resolved.
British retail sales data is forecast to come in at a fall
of 0.3 percent in March and up 4.6 percent year-on-year,
according to a Reuters poll of analysts.
"Economic data have not moved the pound much in recent
weeks, though today's March retail sales are worth watching.
Sales have been volatile in recent months," said Adam Cole,
chief currencies strategist at RBC.
The data is expected to be bleak partly because consumer
spending stalled ahead of the original March 29 Brexit deadline.
At 0800 GMT sterling was down 0.1 percent against the dollar
at $1.3023 and flat against the euro at 86.54 pence
On Wednesday, a report in the Guardian newspaper that talks
between the Labour opposition party and the ruling Conservatives
had stalled sent the pound tumbling. A spokesman for the Labour
party denied talks had hit an impasse.
Implied volatility in the pound has fallen sharply as
investors reduce their bets on the currency moving significantly
one way or the another.
(Reporting by Tom Finn;
Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)
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