Pound Falls After Brexit-Fuelled Highs

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The pound retreated Thursday awaiting yet another Brexit vote after the UK currency struck multi-month highs versus the dollar and euro thanks to British MPs ruling out a no-deal departure from the European Union. 

London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index climbed in late morning deals, boosted by the pound’s retreat helping to lift share prices of multinationals.

“The pound has pulled away from its multi-month highs against the dollar and euro reached yesterday after the UK parliament voted against leaving the EU without a deal,” noted Dean Popplewell, analyst at Oanda trading group.

Attention now turns to Thursday’s vote by British MPs on whether to ask the EU to approve a Brexit delay.

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It comes amid plans by Prime Minister Theresa May to ask lawmakers again to back her twice-defeated divorce deal next week.

Following Wednesday’s no-deal vote, the pound surged to $1.3381, its highest level since June.

The euro was meanwhile pushed down to 84.73 pence — a level not seen since May 2017.

In Thursday trading, the pound fell back to $1.3232, while one euro was worth 85.45 pence.

Market focus was also on China, with Shanghai’s stock market closing down 1.2 percent after figures showed the country’s factory output grew slower than forecast in the first two months of the year.

Chinese retail sales and investment were broadly in line with expectations.

The tepid readings highlighted weakness in the world’s number two economy and reinforced the need for measures by the Chinese government to kickstart growth as the global economy stutters and the US trade war drags on.

The “data means the economy will take a longer time to bottom out as industrial production and consumption are still under pressure despite the rebound in investment”, Liu Peiqian, Asia strategist at Natwest Markets PLC, told Bloomberg News.

Traders will be keeping a close eye on closing remarks at the annual National People’s Congress on Friday for an idea about leaders’ plans.

Wall Street had closed higher Wednesday after data showed a pick-up in the US manufacturing sector, while a soft reading on wholesale inflation reinforced expectations the Federal Reserve will not hike interest rates any time soon.

With few major catalysts for buying dealers are awaiting fresh developments in the China-US trade talks with President Donald Trump saying he saw a “very good chance” of a deal but added he was in “no rush”.

 Key figures around 1130 GMT 

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.4 percent at 7,188.75 points

Frankfurt – DAX 30: DOWN 0.1 percent at 11,559.66

Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.4 percent at 5,327.40

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.2 percent at 3,329.50

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3245 from $1.3339 at 2100 GMT

Euro/pound: UP at 85.40 pence from 85.00 pence

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1310 from $1.1334

Dollar/yen: UP at 111.62 yen from 111.17 yen

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: FLAT at 21,287.02 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.2 percent at 28,851.39 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 1.2 percent at 2,990.69 (close)

New York – DOW: UP 0.6 percent at 25,702.89 (close)

Oil – Brent Crude: UP two cents at $67.57 per barrel

Oil – West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 16 cents at $58.10 per barrel.

AFP

Pound Stands Firm After May Loss, Asian Equity Markets Rise

 

The pound edged down Wednesday after the record defeat of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plan but mostly held its ground as investors consider the next likely developments in the long-running saga.

The sterling tanked to a near two-year low soon after the government’s proposal on leaving the European Union was soundly beaten Tuesday evening, but it soon bounced back as traders bet there would not be a “no-deal” exit.

And while it was slightly lower in Asia, the pound managed to avoid the sort of pummelling many had predicted, and analysts say the positive news is that the options for the future are narrowing.

With May expected to win a vote of no confidence called by the opposition Labour Party on Wednesday, talk will move to what happens next.

Analysts say May could ask to delay Britain’s March 29 exit from the bloc as she looks for a more palatable agreement from her EU peers, while there is growing speculation of a general election and even another referendum.

“Momentum is shifting away from the harder Brexit route and towards a number of options ranging from postponement and second referendum. That is pound supportive,” said Gavin Friend at National Australia Bank.

But he added: “I don’t see the pound rallying much until markets are sure the (ruling) Conservatives have seen off the confidence motion.”

Meanwhile, London may still leave the bloc without a backup.

“We cannot ignore the fact that it takes very little effort for no-deal, whilst it takes a vast amount of effort to avoid it,” warned Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com.

Asian equity markets mostly rose after Tuesday’s rally that was fuelled by Chinese plans to cut taxes in a bid to support the stuttering economy.

However, traders are growing increasingly worried about the lack of movement in the US over the government shutdown, which is now in its fourth week, with both sides digging their heels in.

Tokyo ended off 0.6 percent, but Hong Kong rose 0.2 percent to build on Tuesday’s two percent rally while Shanghai was flat.

Sydney and Seoul each rose 0.4 percent, while Singapore added 0.3 percent and Wellington put on 0.7 percent with Mumbai 0.2 percent higher.

Investors are now gearing up for the start of the corporate earnings season and some are concerned that the effects of recent soft economic data globally — as well as the China-US trade war — will begin to show up in accounts.

Key figures around 0710 GMT 

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2856 from $1.2871 at 2140 GMT

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.6 percent at 20,442.75 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.2 percent at 26,980.43

Shanghai – Composite: FLAT at 2,570.42 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1408 from $1.1413

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 108.44 yen from 108.72

Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP six cents at $52.17 per barrel

Oil – Brent Crude: UP 10 cents at $60.74 per barrel

New York – DOW: UP 0.7 percent at 24,065.59 (close)

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.6 percent at 6,895.02

AFP

Pound Recovers As World Supports Britain In Spy Case

British Prime Minister Theresa May    Photo: Bjorn LARSSON ROSVALL / TT NEWS AGENCY / AFP

 

The British pound recovered Friday from weakness prompted by a Russian decision to expel British diplomats, as the world rallied in support for London in a crisis sparked by the poisoning of a double agent, analysts said.

World stocks, meanwhile, rose slightly at the end of a volatile week as fears lingered of a global trade war, tarnishing a positive economic outlook.

“Yesterday morning the pound fell on headlines that Russia was going to retaliate and expel British diplomats,” said Fawad Razaqzada, market analyst at Forex.

The pound then “started to recover” after the leaders of France, Germany and the United States blamed Russia for a nerve agent attack on former spy Sergei Skripal, saying there was “no plausible alternative explanation” for the assault.

“There is nothing like a Russian boogieman to bring EU and UK political adversaries together,” wrote Jasper Lawler, head of research at the London Capital Group.

European and US stocks rose Friday, after Donald Trump’s appointment this week of Lary Kudlow — a supporter of the president’s “America first” agenda but who has criticised his tariffs move — appeared to limit worries of an imminent trade war, at least on the European front.

In Germany, the EU’s economic powerhouse, the DAX was up as shares in Siemens’ Healthineers unit surged after the industrial giant raised 4.2 billion euros ($5.1 billion) in an initial public offering.

For the bloc as a whole, the main event was the final eurozone inflation reading for February, which came in at 1.1 percent.

“Clearly whatever the (European Central Bank) ECB is doing to get that (consumer price index) CPI figure creeping higher isn’t working, news that helped send the…DAX and CAC up,” Connor Campbell, analyst at Spreadex traders.

Attention now turns to the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy meeting next week. A rate rise is expected but its statement and new bank boss Jerome Powell’s comments will be pored over for clues about future hikes with speculation it could announce three more this year.

“It’s shaping up to be arguably one of the most critical central bank policy events in some time as Jay Powell gets set to dictate the course of Fed policy for the remainder of 2018 and beyond,” said Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trade at OANDA.

Further uncertainty has been fanned by reports that Trump is planning to sack his National Security Advisor HR McMaster, just days after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was ousted and not long since Trump’s chief economic advisor Gary Cohn resigned.

Elsewhere on Friday, bitcoin was stable around $8,470 after heavy losses in recent days.

Key figures around 1400 GMT

New York – Dow: UP 0.3 percent at 24,951.56 points

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.2 percent at 7,155.60

Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.3 percent at 12,384.82

Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.2 percent at 5,275.00

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.5 percent at 3,431.60

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.6 percent at 21,676.51 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.1 percent at 31,501.97 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.2299 from $1.2300 at 2100 GMT

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3938 from $1.3933

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 105.61 yen from 106.39 yen

Oil – Brent North Sea: FLAT at $65.71 per barrel

Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP 12 cents at $61.25

AFP

MPC Meeting: Currency Traders Optimistic About Naira Value

Naira, dollar, Market FX marketCurrency traders expect a mixed performance for the Naira ahead of next week’s meeting of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Monetary Policy Committee.

The Naira appreciated to 306 naira 33 kobo against the Dollar on Wednesday and 416 naira 19 kobo to the Pound but weakened to 365 naira 38 kobo against the Euro on the interbank platform.

At the parallel market the local unit also firmed to 423 to the Dollar and 550 to the British Pound while it traded flat at 470 to the Euro.

Naira Depreciates Against Three Currencies At Interbank Market

Naira, dollar, Market FX marketThe Naira depreciated against three currencies at the interbank market on Wednesday.

The local unit depreciated by 0.23 percent to 314 Naira 92 kobo to the Dollar, 3.13 percent to 422 Naira 64 kobo to the Pound and by 0.33 percent 352 Naira 46 kobo to the Euro.

At the parallel market, the Naira firmed by 0.47 percent to 423 against the Dollar, but fell 0.56 percent to 540 against the British Pound, and traded flat at 465 against the Euro.

Traders are optimistic that the Naira may appreciate this week, following the re-reinstatement of the eight banks previously banned by the Central Bank Nigeria (CBN) from the Forex market, and the licensing of 11 new international money transfer operators, to address the Dollar supply.

Bank Clerk steals from employer for breast implant

24-year old Rachael Claire Martin, a clerk working with Barclays Bank in Cornwall, the United Kingdom who was accused of stealing £46,000 ($72,000 or close) from her bank admitted that she actually stole the money for self-gratification to achieve her breaking into her desired career which is modelling.

She decided to go for breast implants, teeth whitening, liposuction and hair extensions thinking these would increase her chances of breaking into the modelling world.

According to Western Morning News, Rachael Claire Martin initially denied the allegations, but she eventually pleaded guilty in court to stealing the money over an eight-week period.

The Clerk initially stole  £2,000, then £1,000  and later increased her loot to £6,000, plunging about £4,000 into breast implants and £1,700 for dental work as she also proceeded to go on “wild shopping sprees.”