Pound sterling slumps against rivals                                                                               

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The British currency fell 0.4 percent to $1.4045 after trading as high as $1.4145 in Asian trading, with analysts saying most of the weekend’s sterling weakness was driven by a recovery by the dollar after a poor week.

Against the euro, the pound traded down 0.1 percent at 88.88 pence per euro.

A falling dollar and signs that the Bank of England will tighten monetary policy faster than expected this year lifted sterling earlier this week, leaving the British currency still up around 1.6 percent since Monday.

But concerns about UK economic weakness were underlined by data showing retail sales volumes rose 0.1 percent on the month in January, less than the 0.5 percent that economists had forecast in a Reuters poll, after dropping 1.4 percent in December.

“The retail sales reaction was immaterial. The focus now is May meeting Chancellor Merkel on Friday. She will probably also have informal contacts with EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier. Hence cautious sterling/dollar offers are appearing,” said Ken Odeluga, a market analyst at City Index.

Traders are also looking to British earnings data next week.

Craig Erlam, a London-based analyst at OANDA, said that came in higher than expected, it is “going to feed into the expectation that the Bank of England will have to raise rates” to tackle inflationary pressures.

Last week, the central bank said rates needed to rise a bit more and sooner than it had previously thought. The market is pricing in a roughly 70 percent chance of a first increase in May.

Sterling is up more than 4 percent against the dollar this year and in January, trading at $1.4346, it hit its strongest level since the Brexit vote in June 2016.

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