The UK economy is edging closer towards growth according to the latest retail sales figures released today. The Office for national statistics said that the amount of retail sales has risen by 1.8 %, giving an annual increase of 3.3%.
The figures are the highest since January 2011 and have added to the sense of optimism regarding the British economy.
Retail sales volumes rose 1.8 percent on the month to give an annual rise of 3.3 percent. They were the highest increases since January 2011 and were well above economists’ predictions.
The recent petrol panic has been credited with a 4.9% increase in petrol sales and the unseasonably warm weather earlier in the year caused clothing sales to jump up. However, it was reported that small businesses struggled due to the fuel shortages.
Today’s figures point to a surprisingly strong revival in retail sales at a time of high unemployment and further worries about the Eurozone, as a result the pound stayed strong in the markets standing at a rate of 1.222.
Elsewhere, the head of the IMF is in Washington trying to raise an extra $400 billion of funding to bolster funds for future euro calamities. The British chancellor George Osborne is attending the meeting and is being pressured to donate more funds to the IMF fund.
The need for extra funds is a concern for investors as it could be an indication that another bailout of one of the embattled Euro countries like Portugal is close at hand. The situation in Spain remains bleak with its ten year bond yields remaining in the danger zone of 6%.
The Pound to Euro exchange rate is currently trading at 1.222
The Pound to US Dollar exchange rate is currently trading at 1.609
The Euro to US Dollar exchange rate is currently trading at 1.316