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GBP/USD was struggling with 1.2800 ahead of the publication. On Thursday, the UK government lost a non-binding yet indicative vote in Parliament. In addition, the USD is on the rise amid a risk-off atmosphere stemming from an impasse in trade talks with China and concerns about the global economy.

The UK was expected to report an increase of 0.2% in retail sales in January 2019, following a fall of 0.9% in December. Year over year, an acceleration from 3.0%   to 3.4% was on the cards.  

Excluding fuel, an advance of 0.2% was forecast, coming on top of a significant drop of 1.3% in the last month of 2018. Year over year, 3.4% was projected after 3% beforehand.