England braces for harsher lockdown measures; Euro gets a boost from positive German data.
The pound sterling was steady against its US and European counterparts, but is coming under pressure. Analysts say that the new lockdown measures imposed by the British government in what is viewed as yet another attempt to get some control over the coronavirus pandemic are weighing on the currency. Economists feel that these measures will likely lower economic output by as much as 10% for the duration of the lockdown. The newest mutation of the COVID-19 virus has a higher transmission rate, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has not yet set the date for the new restrictions, prompting members of the Labour Party to demand an immediate move rather than a delay.
In London trading as of 11:11 am, the GBP/USD was trading at $1.3605, up 0.1982%; the pair has traded in the session from a trough of $1.35537 to a peak of $1.36134. The EUR/GBP was trading at 0.9029 pence, up 0.0876% and off the session low of 0.90144 pence. The GBP/JPY was lower at 139.846 yen, down 0.0793%.
German Data Better than Expected
The euro got a boost from unexpectedly upbeat data from Germany, the largest economy in the EU. The German Statistics Bureau reported earlier that retail sales for November, both on a year-on-year basis as well as a monthly basis, were higher than analysts had expected. Annualized retail sales for November came in at 5.9% against an expected 3.9%, while month-on-month figures were at 1.9% against a forecast of -2%. The German unemployment rate for December, seasonally adjusted, was as expected at 6.1%, flat. Meanwhile, the unemployment change in Germany came in at -37,000, well below the 10,000 figure that was predicted predicted. The EUR/USD was trading higher at $1.228, a gain of 0.2384%.