The pound appreciated against its most major counterparts in the European session on Friday, as the nation's retail sales grew unexpectedly in April despite consumer confidence sliding to a record low as soaring inflation boosted the cost of living further.

Data from the Office for National Statistics showed that retail sales expanded 1.4 percent monthly, reversing a revised 1.2 percent decline in March.

Sales were forecast to drop 0.2 percent in April.

China's reduction in the borrowing rate to boost the virus-hit economy lifted European shares, further underpinning the currency.

The People's Bank of China cut the five-year loan prime rate by 15 basis points to 4.45 percent from 4.60 percent to revive the property sector. This was the second reduction this year.

The pound reversed from its early lows of 1.2080 against the franc and 1.2437 against the greenback, rising to 1.2163 and 1.2497, respectively. The pound is seen finding resistance around 1.24 against the franc and 1.28 against the greenback.

The pound advanced to a 2-day high of 160.20 against the yen, from a low of 158.73 set at 11:50 pm ET. If the pound rises further, 162.00 is possibly seen as its next resistance level.

The pound reached as high as 0.8464 against the euro, but it has since eased to 0.8491. At yesterday's close, the pair was worth 0.8485.

Looking ahead, Eurozone flash consumer sentiment index for May will be published at 10:00 am ET.

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