The dollar remained largely against the other major currencies today, as the release of upbeat U.S. retail sales data boosted optimism over the strength of the economy ahead of the Federal Reserve’s monthly policy meeting due to begin later in the day.
The U.S. Commerce Department said that retail sales increased by 0.5% last month, compared to the forecast for a rise of 0.3%. Retail sales for April rose 1.3%.
Core retail sales which exclude automobile sales, rose by 0.4% in May, according to forecasts. Core sales in April gained 0.8%.
Markets have pushed back expectations on the timing of the next rate hike by the U.S. central bank after a dismal U.S. employment report for May, which showed the slowest rate of jobs growth since September 2010.
Earlier today, the U.K. Office for National Statistics said that the annual rate of inflation remained steady at 0.3% in May, slightly below economists’ expectations for an increase of 0.4%.
Core inflation, which excludes volatile energy and food costs, remained steady at 1.2%, falling slightly short of forecasts for a 1.3% increase.
Sterling remained under pressure after a number of opinion polls showed that the EU referendum race is tightening ahead of the June 23 Brexit vote.
A poll conducted by YouGov for The Times published late yesterday, showed that the Leave campaign held 46% support compared with 39% support for the Remain camp. Undecided voters reached 11%.
Earlier today, the National Australia Bank said its business confidence index fell to 3 in May from a reading of 5 the previous month.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.53% at 94.89, the highest since June 3.