Hard Brexit Fears Weigh on the Pound

Xe Corporate APAC

December 17, 2019 2 min read

The AUDUSD opens at 0.6846 (mid-rate) and the NZDUSD opens at 0.6569 (mid-rate) this morning.

Hard Brexit fears are weighing on the British pound, while upbeat US economic data has helped push the US dollar higher.

The British pound is the worst performing of the G10 currencies selling off after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced he intends to introduce a new change in the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) to rule out any extension of Brexit transition deadline. Mr Johnson intends to make good his promise of taking the UK out of the European block with or without a deal by Jan 31st 2020 but the transition period which has a 31st Dec 2020 deadline can currently be extended by mutual agreement.

This morning’s US data continued to point to a strengthening economy with industrial production, building permits and housing starts all printing ahead of expectations.

Industrial production rebounded by 1.1% in November after plummeting 0.9% in October, the turnaround was driven by a surge in manufacturing output which spiked 1.1% following October’s 0.7% fall.

As reported by the Commerce department building permits are at 12-year highs, climbing by another 1.4% in November following on from October’s 5.0% surge. Housing starts are also strong, up 3.2% in November after a 4.5% increase in October.

The RBA remains concerned about around a lack of wage growth which they feel is holding back both inflation and consumption and reiterated that expect interest rates to remain low for an extended period, and are prepared to provide further stimulus if required. The market is currently pricing in a 50% chance of a 25 bps cut in February.

We expect the NZD to tread water ahead of tomorrow morning’s quarterly GDP release. Current expectations are for GDP to increase by 0.5%.

Global equity markets are mixed, - Dow +0.31%, S&P 500 +0.15%, FTSE +0.08%, DAX -0.89%, CAC -0.39%, Nikkei +0.47%, Shanghai +1.27%

Gold prices are little changed at $1,477 an ounce. WTI Crude Oil prices have pushed higher, up 1.1% trading at 60.80 a barrel.

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