Latest data released by ONS - 15 August 2019

  • Prior +1.0%; revised to +0.9%
  • Retail sales +3.3% vs +2.5% y/y expected
  • Prior +3.8%

  • Retail sales (ex autos, fuel) +0.2% vs -0.2% m/m expected
  • Prior +0.9%; revised to +0.8%
  • Retail sales (ex autos, fuel) +2.9% vs +2.3% y/y expected
  • Prior +3.6%

An unexpected beat in retail sales and that is a welcome boost to kick off consumption activity in the UK economy for Q3.

ONS says that department store sales increased for the first time this year with online spending being a key driver to the upside in the report. Online sales jumped by 6.9% on the month, driven by promotions and that is the biggest rise in volume terms since May 2016.

However, overall consumption activity is more modest with retail sales having only increased by 0.5% in the three months to July, the smallest growth seen so far this year.

The data has lifted the pound slightly with cable inching up to a high of 1.2085 ahead of key near-term resistance at 1.2100. In my view, I don't find much to be optimistic in the release here apart from the fact that it isn't as bad as estimated.