February 26, 2019 — 3 min read
The NZD USD opens at 0.6885 (mid-rate) this morning.
The British pound is the standout performer of the G10 currencies as markets begin to price-out the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.
Yesterday evening, UK Prime Minister Theresa May admitted for the first time that Brexit could be delayed. May while addressing parliament said she would seek a “short, limited extension to article 50” beyond March 29th if parliament refuses to back her withdrawal agreement and votes against leaving without a deal.
After the resignation of three Tory ministers last week, three junior ministers have threatened to do the same if the UK goes ahead with a no-deal Brexit.
May will present her proposed withdrawal plan on the 12th March with a vote on whether to leave without a deal in place (resulting in a hard Brexit) or to extend the Article 50 period to follow shortly after should parliament reject her Brexit plan.
Overnight, US economic data releases delivered mixed messages to the market with consumer confidence exceeding expectations while housing starts fell to a two-year low.
The US Conference Board reported its Consumer Confidence Index increased to 131.4 in February after falling to 121.7 in January. The result was well ahead of the expected 125.0 outcome.
The US Commerce Department released its December housing starts report overnight with the data showing housing starts plunged by 11.2% to an annual rate of 1.078 million in December from the revised November estimate of 1.214 million. The result represents the largest fall in housing starts since September 2016 and was far greater than the forecast 0.5% dip.
This morning’s trade balance data is expected to show a $300 million trade deficit for the month of February following on from January’s $264 million surplus.
Global equity markets are mixed, - Dow -0.08, S&P 500 +0.01, FTSE -0.45%, DAX +0.31%, CAC +0.13%, Nikkei -0.37%, Shanghai -0.67%. Gold prices are little changed trading at $1,325 an ounce. WTI Crude Oil prices have edged higher overnight, up 1.0% trading at $56.31 a barrel.
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