The pound advanced against its major counterparts in early European deals on Friday, as the nation's retail sales recovered at a faster than expected pace in May due to some easing of restrictions related to the COVID-19.

Data from the Office for National Statistics showed that retail sales volume increased at a pace of 12 percent on month, in contrast to an 18 percent decrease in April. Sales were forecast to climb 5.7 percent.

Similarly, sales volume excluding auto fuel, advanced 10.2 percent versus a 15 percent fall a month ago and economists' forecast of 4.5 percent.

Retail sales including auto fuel, declined 13.1 percent on year, following a 22.7 percent decrease in April. This was slower than the 17.1 percent decrease economists' had forecast.

Excluding auto fuel, retail sales dropped a slower pace of 9.8 percent after declining 18.5 percent in the previous month. Economists had expected an annual fall of 14.4 percent.

In a separate communiqué, the ONS said the budget deficit widened to a record high in May.

Public sector net borrowing excluding public sector banks, totaled GBP 55.2 billion, roughly nine times or GBP 49.6 billion more than in May 2019. This was the highest borrowing in any month on record began in 1993.

The pound climbed to 133.25 against the yen, after falling to 132.61 at 8:30 pm ET. The pound is likely to face resistance around the 135.00 region, if it gains again.

The pound rose to 1.2456 against the greenback, from a low of 1.2405 set at 8:45 pm ET. The pound is seen finding resistance around the 1.27 mark.

The pound edged up to 1.1840 against the franc and 0.9007 against the euro, from its early lows of 1.1801 and 0.9028, respectively. Next immediate resistance for the pound is seen around 1.20 against the franc and 0.88 against the euro.

Looking ahead, Canada retail sales for April will be featured in the New York session.

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