By Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch

Dollar Index has dropped 1.5% so far this week

The pound on Thursday rose above $1.30 for the first time since September following a better-than-expected reading on U.K. retail sales, as the dollar largely continued to lose ground against its major rivals.

The British currency was changing hands at $1.3035, up from $1.2971 late Wednesday in New York. It traded as high as $1.3046 intraday after data showed U.K. retail sales grew by 2.3% on the month in April (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/uk-retail-sales-rebound-overshoot-expectations-2017-05-18), well above expectations.

"The combination of the U.K.'s surging consumer spending and U.S. President Trump's firestorm has decisively tilted the balance of power in favor of the pound over the dollar," said David Lamb, head of dealing at Fexco Corporate Payments, in a note.

"Britain's wage squeeze may have scotched any slim hope of the Bank of England raising rates this year, but the U.K. economy continues to create jobs at a prodigious rate and its retail boom is still in full swing," he said.

The buck has been hit this week (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dollar-edges-down-as-analysts-blame-trump-worries-2017-05-17) by escalating U.S. political concerns, with President Donald Trump hit by claims that he tried to influence a probe into links between his inner circle and Russia.

The ICE Dollar Index on Thursday was little changed at 97.60, keeping the gauge down 1.6% for the week and at levels last seen Nov. 9, the day after Election Day.

Even with Thursday's jump, the pound remains down by about 13% against the dollar since June 23. That's when the U.K. voted to leave the European Union, leading currency traders to bet that Brexit will hurt the British economy.

In other currencies trading, the euro was at $1.1121, down from $1.1159 late Wednesday in New York, while the dollar bought 110.49 yen, down from 110.81 yen.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 18, 2017 05:44 ET (09:44 GMT)

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