Pound wobbly after May’s Brexit deal voted down

Theresa May in parliament [Photo: BBC]
Theresa May in parliament [Photo: BBC]

The pound steadied on Wednesday but remained on the backfoot following a volatile overnight session after British lawmakers defeated Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit divorce deal by a crushing margin.

Parliament on Tuesday voted 432-202 against Ms May’s deal, the worst parliamentary defeat for a government in recent British history.

Investors’ short-term focus is now on a confidence vote on Ms May’s government by lawmakers later in the day.

Sterling had sunk more than 1 per cent against the dollar earlier on Tuesday but rallied back after the parliamentary vote, with the sizable defeat for May seen forcing Britain to pursue different options.

However, there are also worries the outcome might trigger political upheaval that could lead to a disorderly exit from the European Union.

The pound traded a shade lower at $1.2846, caught in a narrow range after gyrating between a low of $1.2670 and a high of $1.2917 during the previous session.


SGF Campaign AD

“While the margin of May’s loss was a surprise, the defeat itself was something the market had been pricing in for a long time and it appears that participants covered shorts in the pound after the vote,” said Yukio Ishizuki, senior currency strategist at Daiwa Securities.

“The market is now factoring in the March Brexit deadline being extended. In the longer run it may boil down to two scenarios – a no-deal Brexit or no Brexit at all.”

The date set in law for Brexit is March 29, but with the clock ticking down quickly an extension of the deadline now appears more likely.

Against the euro, the pound was little changed at 88.70 pence after gaining about 0.4 per cent overnight.

The euro inched down 0.1 per cent to $1.1398 following a loss of 0.5 per cent the previous day.

The dollar eased 0.15 per cent to 108.520 yen after advancing 0.5 per cent against its Japanese peer overnight amid a further ebb in risk aversion with U.S. stocks posting strong gains.

The Swiss franc, which tends to gain in times of political tensions and market turmoil along with the yen, also sagged.


SGF Campaign AD

The franc lost 0.7 per cent against the U.S. currency and last held steady at 0.9879 franc per dollar.

The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies was effectively unchanged at 96.017 .DXY after climbing almost 0.5 per cent the previous day, when it brushed an 11-day high of 96.261.

“A recovery by U.S. equities and a resulting ebb in downward pressure on Treasury yields will widen interest rate differentials between the United States and other countries.

“This will be a theme supporting the dollar this year,” said Junichi Ishikawa, senior FX strategist at IG Securities in Tokyo.

Long-term U.S. Treasury yields US10YT=RR dropped to an 11-month low of 2.543 per cent at the start of January but have bounced back above 2.70 per cent, as the broader equity markets have regained some calm after experiencing a heavy round of risk aversion seen at the turn of the year.

The Australian dollar was slightly lower at $0.7197 after dipping 0.2 per cent on Tuesday.


Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.


NEVER MISS A THING AGAIN! Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required


Now available on

  Premium Times Android mobile applicationPremium Times iOS mobile applicationPremium Times blackberry mobile applicationPremium Times windows mobile application

TEXT AD: This space is available for a Text_Ad.. Call Willie on +2347088095401 for more information

All rights reserved. This material and any other material on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from PREMIUM TIMES.