There were frequent changes of direction for sterling, including one day in first place among the major currencies and another at the back of the pack. The net result was a pound that was, on average, just about unchanged. Its best results were against the Swiss franc and Australian dollar, with gains of 0.8%. Its worst was the 0.6% that it lost to the Norwegian krone.
The UK economic data were a decidedly mixed bag, with surprises in both directions. September’s employment report showed payrolls returning to pre-pandemic levels, with more than a million people on furlough and a similar number of unfilled job vacancies. Inflation rose to a nine-year high of 3.1%, mainly as a result of cuts to VAT a year earlier in the eat-out-to-help-out campaign. On the debit side, UK retail sales unexpectedly fell 0.9% in August, leaving them flat on the year. Analysts had predicted monthly and annual increases of 0.5% and 2.7%.
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