Sterling hits 2-week high as UK consumers scorn Brexit factor

LONDON, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Sterling jumped around half a cent to a two-week high against the dollar on Thursday after UK retail sales numbers for July came in much stronger than expected, defying expectations of a hit from Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

The numbers were the first to cover a full month after the Brexit vote in late June and showed retail spending rose 5.9 percent on the year, compared to a consensus forecast of 4.2 percent.

On the month they rose 1.4 percent versus the 0.2 percent expected.

That drove the pound 0.9 percent higher on the day against a broadly weak U.S. dollar, trading at $1.3150. It also gained 0.5 percent to 86.1 pence per euro.

British gilt futures pared gains after the data, falling to 132.44, having stood at 132.55 before the release. They were last up 18 ticks on the day at 132.49. (Reporting by Patrick Graham, Ana Nicolaci da Costa, editing by Anirban Nag)