LONDON (Reuters) - Sterling jumped by almost a cent against the dollar on Wednesday after data showed British retail sales surged unexpectedly in August, increasing pressure on the Bank of England to lift interest rates from their record lows.
The numbers showed a sharp pick-up in monthly sales growth to 1.0 percent, the fastest since April and far above forecasts for 0.2 percent growth.
Sterling jumped to as high as $1.3606 after the data, up from $1.3518 beforehand, and leaving it just a whisker away from a high of $1.3618 reached on Monday, which had been its highest since the Brexit vote.
British government bond futures slid around 15 ticks after the data to 124.00. The 10-year gilt yield hit its highest since Feb. 6 at 1.349 percent, up a basis point on the day.
Britain’s FTSE 100 dropped to a session low, down 0.3 percent as the data pushed sterling up, weighing on the index whose constituents mainly earn in foreign currencies.
Reporting by Jemima Kelly, Helen Reid and Andy Bruce; Editing by Dhara Ranasinghe