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Pound volatile at start of hectic Brexit week

Luis Alfredo Farache, Luis Alfredo Farache Benacerraf
Pound volatile at start of hectic Brexit week

London, United Kingdom (AFP) —The British pound see-sawed Monday as traders jockeyed for position on the eve of another critical parliamentary vote for Prime Minister Theresa May. The UK currency kicked off the trading cycle in Asia by tanking to its lowest level since February 19 at $1.2949, but then bounced back in the European day — with analysts trying to guess where it may head next.

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“The foreign exchange market thinks tomorrow’s (Brexit) meaningful vote is a big deal, and expects volatility sooner rather than later,” said Chris Turner, global head of strategy at ING.

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As British MPs prepare to vote again on the divorce deal on Tuesday, the prime minister appears to have little to show for her recent efforts, prompting warnings of another humiliating defeat.

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“We are 24 hours away from May‘s supposed ‘meaningful’ Brexit vote, and the rumour is that (she) could lose this vote by a wider margin than the last one,” said Oanda analyst Dean Popplewell. “As expected, sterling remains volatile.”

May was, however, expected on Monday to travel to Strasbourg in a last bid to win a breakthrough deal.

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“Though the prime me last-minute changes with the EU, she is neither making progress in Brussels nor at home,” said City Index analyst Fiona Cincotta.

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“The choice for MPs will be either a hard Brexit or postponing this date — and the latter option seems to be gathering more momentum.”

World stock markets meanwhile clocked up gains Monday, including London, although the FTSE was held back somewhat by sterling’s rebound.

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“Global stocks are climbing at the start of the week, after reassuring comments from Fed Chair Powell and on signs that the US and China are nearing a trade deal,” said Popplewell at

US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who has faced bitter criticism from Donald Trump, said in an interview broadcast Sunday that the president cannot fire him

Last year, President Donald Trump angrily and very publicly denounced the Fed’s “crazy” interest rate hikes, breaking with traditional reserve from presidents toward the world’s most powerful central bank

Wall Street was also higher in the early New York afternoon, but Boeing shares were a big drag on the Dow Jones index as safety doubts over the company’s best-selling 737 MAX 8 drove several carriers to ground the aircraft Monday, after a jet crashed in Ethiopia, killing all 157 people on board

As Boeing stock stood around eight per cent lower, shares in global rival Airbus rose more than one per cent, comfortably outperforming the overall Paris market where they are listed

Key figures at 1645 GMT

 

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3124 from $1.3015 at 2200 GMT on Friday

Euro/pound: DOWN at 85.53 pence from 86.30 pence

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1227 from $1.1235

Dollar/yen: UP at 111.27 yen from 111.17 yen

LondonFTSE 100: UP 0.4 per cent at 7,130.62 points (close)

FrankfurtDAX 30: UP 0.8 per cent at 11,543.48 (close)

ParisCAC 40: UP 0.7 per cent at 5,265.96 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.6 per cent at 3,304.44

New York — Dow: UP 0.3 per cent at 25,524.91

TokyoNikkei 225: UP 0.5 per cent at 21,125.09 (close)

Hong Kong — Hang Seng: UP 1.0 per cent at 28,503.30 (close)

ShanghaiComposite: UP 1.9 per cent at 3,026.99 (close)

OilBrent Crude: UP 51 cents at $66.25 per barrel

OilWest Texas Intermediate: UP 45 cents at $56.52

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