GBP Slides to June 2017 lows as Britain postpones Brexit Deal Vote

Dec. 10, 2018 (Western Union Business Solutions)  – A mixed U.S. dollar soared to fresh highs against the politically-weakened U.K. pound. The dollar’s nearly 1% rise against sterling to fresh 1 ½ peaks translated into a general boost. Still, the euro pushed higher, taking out resistance to notch its highest in three weeks. Weaker oil below $52 weighed on Canada’s dollar. Sterling plunged on reports that embattled U.K. prime minister may postpone a crucial parliamentary vote on her unpopular Brexit deal. The news heightened political risk as it kept alive fears of Britain crashing out of the EU. The gain against the pound offered support to the dollar whose popularity has waned as mixed U.S. data has dampened expectations for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates next year. Europe dominates market focus this week with the ECB mulling its final policy decision of the year Thursday. Next week it will be all about the Fed.




Canada’s dollar weakened after a jobs-inspired rally Friday. November proved a banner month for Canada when it hired a record number of jobs (more than 94K), a staggering amount that lowered the nation’s jobless rate by two notches to 5.6%, also an all-time best. The data kept the door cracked for the Bank of Canada to raise borrowing rates from 1.75% as soon as the first quarter of 2019. Still, one report doesn’t make a trend. Meanwhile, weaker oil prices below $52 added to the loonie’s softer start to the week.



The euro climbed to three-week highs as the single currency continued to benefit from markets’ dovish repricing of expectations for U.S. interest rates next year. The market largely concedes a Fed rate hike next week, but it wouldn’t be a total surprise if the Fed should get cold feet following cautious remarks from several policymakers. While stronger, the euro could see two-way volatility this week with the ECB issuing its final decision of the year on Thursday. No rate changes are expected but the central bank is likely to announce the end of its QE stimulus at year’s end. Any cautious commentary from ECB President Mario Draghi could weigh anew on the euro.


Sterling slid to June 2017 lows against the greenback on reports that Britain may postpone a parliamentary vote set for Tuesday on the prime minister’s Brexit plan amid a lack of support. Failure to pass the deal would raise already elevated political risk, a leading source of sterling weakness, and keep dire scenarios on the table such as but not limited to Britain crashing out of the EU without a deal, early elections, or a second Brexit referendum. Failure to pass the deal could also be the pound’s ticket substantially lower.




The broadly weighted dollar index ticked higher, thanks mostly to its outperformance against sterling. Underlying dollar sentiment remained in the dumps after it depreciated nearly 1% last week for its worst week in more than three months. The dollar has fallen prey to markets’ dampened expectations for the Fed to raise rates next year. Fundamental keys for the buck will be gleaned in U.S. data this week on consumer prices and consumer spending, critical numbers that will add to the debate about whether the U.S. economy is in better or worse shape than many believe.

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