October 19, 2017 / 8:12 AM / in a year

Sterling holds steady, awaiting UK retail sales data

LONDON, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Sterling held steady on Thursday at $1.32 as traders awaited retail sales data for further clues about the health of the UK economy after dovish comments by policymakers this week prompted some doubts over the future trajectory of interest rates.

The pound slipped to a five-day low on Wednesday after weak UK wage growth data.

The retail sales data, expected at 0830 GMT, may bolster expectations of monetary tightening. Financial markets have firmly factored in a rise in borrowing costs at the next Bank of England policy meeting in November, and are expecting rate hikes of more than 50 basis points over the next year.

The British pound edged lower to $1.3193 in early trades on Thursday.

Investors are also closely following a two-day European Union summit in which British Prime Minister Theresa May will try to unlock the stalled Brexit talks. She is under pressure from some in her party to threaten to walk away from the talks.

“There’s an awful lot of political noise going on and if sterling reacted to every single political sound bite, it would look like one of those ticker graphs when someone’s having a heart attack,” CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said. (Reporting by Polina Ivanova; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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