Release Explanation: The CBI Realized Sales measures the consumer spending. It is a leading indicator of consumer spending because retailer and wholesaler sales are directly influenced by consumer buying levels. A reading above 0 indicates higher sales volume, below 0 indicates weaker sales.

Trade Desk Thoughts: The CBI survey showed that retail sales contracted for the tenth month in a row. In its latest Distributive Trades Survey, 27% of retailers said year-on-year sales volumes rose in the first half of February, while 52% said they were down.

The resulting balance of -25% marked a fall in sales, but was not as severe as January (-47%) and was significantly better than expected (-52%). The decline in sales is expected to worsen slightly in March (-33%).

Sales for the time of year were reported to be poor by a net 39% of retailers, and are set to remain at a similar, below-average rate in March. The three month moving average of sales volumes, which levels out monthly peaks and troughs, remained weak (a balance of -42%).

Forex Technical Reaction: The pound traded trapped in the overnight session between the 20 and the 50-day simple moving averages, but managed to gain 80 pips overall. Today is the fourth consecutive day in which the pound has strengthened.