Investing.com - The pound was steady against the U.S. dollar on Friday, weighed by the release of disappointing U.K. trade balance data, while investors eyed upcoming U.S. economic reports to be published later in the trading session.
GBP/USD hit 1.6594 during European morning trade, the pair''s lowest since Wednesday; the pair subsequently consolidated at 1.6617, easing 0.04%.
Cable was likely to find support at 1.6526, the low of January 29 and resistance at 1.6717, Thursday''s high.
Official data showed that the U.K. trade deficit widened to £9.79 billion in January, from £7.66 billion in December, whose figure was revised up from a previously estimated deficit of £7.7 billion.
Analysts had expected the trade deficit to widen to £8.60 billion in February.
Market sentiment also remained under pressure after Russia launched new military exercises near its border with Ukraine on Thursday, showing no sign of backing down on plans to annex Crimea.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said serious steps would be imposed by the U.S. and Europe if the referendum on Crimea joining Russia takes place on Sunday as planned.
Meanwhile, investors were eyeing upcoming U.S. data due later in the day, after upbeat economic reports on Thursday eased concerns over the strength of the nation''s economic recovery.
On Thursday, the Commerce Department reported that retail sales rose 0.3% in February, ending two months of declines, while Core retail sales, which exclude automobile sales, also rose 0.2% last month, ahead of expectations for a 0.3% rise.
Separately, the Department of Labor said the number of people filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell by 9,000 to a three month low of 315,000 last week, from the previous week’s revised total of 324,000.
Sterling was lower against the euro, with EUR/GBP edging up 0.16% to 0.8357.