Pound down as Brexit uncertainty drags | 2019-03-20 | daily-sun.com

Pound down as Brexit uncertainty drags

19th March, 2019 11:16:36 printer

LONDON: The pound fell on Monday as more Brexit uncertainty surfaced, culminating in the British parliament's speaker telling the government it could not re-submit an unchanged, twice-rejected Brexit deal to MPs.

Sterling's drop helped push up London's stock market that features numerous multinationals, while eurozone equity indices were a mixed bag at the close and Wall Street softened slightly in New York mid-session business, report agencies.

"Thanks to the pound's shaky start, the FTSE was able to continue its recent rally", noted Connor Campbell, an analyst at the Spreadex trading group.

The pound rallied last week, illustrating markets' surprising confidence of there being an eventual smooth EU exit for Britain despite political unrest over sealing the country's divorce.

But Monday it slipped as uncertainty about government and parliament action before the Mar 29 deadline made it "the worst performing major currency on the day", David Cheetham at xtb said.

First, British Prime Minister Theresa May's government on Sunday warned that it may not hold a planned Brexit vote this week unless it feels it can secure a win that avoids a lengthy delay to pulling out of the EU.

Then, the pressure on sterling increased in the late European afternoon when the House of Commons speaker said that on procedural grounds, the government cannot submit its Brexit deal for another vote in parliament if it is "the same" or "substantially the same" to the one already rejected by MPs.

The pound's downside was, however, limited as most investors had already priced in a delay of Brexit as the most likely scenario, analysts said.

Elsewhere on Monday, Asian stock markets closed higher as investors tracked Friday's positive lead from Wall Street on optimism over China-US trade talks.