Pound Steady Ahead of Article 50 Trigger

Currency traders showed little sign of heightened nerves on Tuesday ahead of Britain’s formal launch of negotiations on leaving the European Union.

British Prime Minister Theresa May will trigger Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty with a formal notification of Britain’s intent to leave the bloc on Wednesday, kicking off a two-year period of exit talks.

Most analysts said the actual triggering of Article 50 will only have symbolic significance for investors, with the real driver for sterling being how negotations with the EU will play out, and the health of the British economy going forward.



“We don’t expect to see anything market moving in the Article 50 letter itself,” said Nomura currency strategist Jordan Rochester.

Investors’ main fear is that a “hard” Brexit — one in which Britain would lose preferential access with its largest trading partner — would damage the British economy, which is showing signs of faltering.

Worries are also growing that Britain’s exit negotiations could be tough and protracted, as both Theresa May and European leaders take bold opening stances.

“The market will care whether the exit and new arrangement discussions can take place in parallel, or if the EU sticks to a sequential process with exit talks first and nothing else discussed until they are finished. Given that would lengthen the talks, it is likely to increase that ‘cliff edge’ pricing,” Rochester added, saying that would be negative for sterling.

The pound , which has yoyoed in the past month between $1.21 and $1.26 was flat on the day around $1.2553. It was also flat at 86.52 pence per euro. “What many market participants may be underestimating is how difficult the negotiations would be … because the pound has been doing quite well recently and hasn’t been under pressure much,” said Thu Lan Nguyen, a currency strategist with Commerzbank in Frankfurt.

via Kitco

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Alfonso Esparza

Alfonso Esparza

Senior Currency Analyst at Market Pulse
Alfonso Esparza specializes in macro forex strategies for North American and major currency pairs. Upon joining OANDA in 2007, Alfonso Esparza established the MarketPulseFX blog and he has since written extensively about central banks and global economic and political trends. Alfonso has also worked as a professional currency trader focused on North America and emerging markets. He has been published by The MarketWatch, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and The Globe and Mail, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on networks including Bloomberg and BNN. He holds a finance degree from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) and an MBA with a specialization on financial engineering and marketing from the University of Toronto.
Alfonso Esparza