The pound depreciated against its major counterparts in the European session on Friday, as U.K. retail sales fell unexpectedly in July and risk sentiment dampened on China's continued crackdown on the tech companies and worries about the spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19.

Data from the Office for National Statistics showed that retail sales fell 2.5 percent in July, following a 0.2 percent rise in June. Sales were forecast to grow 0.4 percent.

Excluding auto fuel, retail sales dropped 2.4 percent, after a flat reading in June. Economists had expected a growth of 0.3 percent.

European shares extended its previous session's sell-off amid uncertainty over the spread of the coronavirus and the Fed's taper plans.

Also, a rout in Chinese technology giants deepened after Chinese authorities passed a major data protection law, along the lines of Europe's Global Data Protection Regulation, making it harder and costlier for tech firms in China to access and use consumer information.

The pound slipped to more than 4-week lows of 149.18 against the yen and 1.3609 against the greenback, down from its early highs of 149.88 and 1.3641, respectively. On the downside, 145.00 and 1.34 are possibly seen as its next support levels against the yen and the greenback, respectively.

The pound eased off from its prior highs of 0.8549 against the euro and 1.2529 against the franc, falling to a 4-week low of 0.8583 and more than a 6-month low of 1.2472, respectively. The pound is likely to test support around 0.88 against the euro and 1.23 against the franc, if it drops further.

Looking ahead, Canada retail sales for June and new housing price index for July will be published in the New York session.

Sterling vs Yen (FX:GBPJPY)
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