British pound volatile on Brexit tensions
The US dollar staged a modest retreat overnight as asset markets marched in tune with movements on the major equity indices on Wall Street. The dollar index fell by 0.30% to 93.24 and has edged lower to 93.16 this morning. That has reflected a move higher by the G-10 currency grouping, with EUR/USD reclaiming 1.1800 and other pro-cyclical currencies such as AUD/USD and NZD/USD rising by 1.0%.
GBP/USD has a volatile overnight session as government lawyers, and ex-Conservative Prime Ministers railed against the proposed unilateral changes by the UK to the Brexit agreement. GBP/USD fell 100 ticks to 1.2885 at one stage, before rallying as the dollar weakened, to close slightly higher at 1.3000. With Brexit risk well and truly back on the table, extended rallies above 1.3000 will be hard to sustain unless the UK government suddenly backs down on its agreement changes.
Amongst regional Asian currencies, the USD/CNY is unchanged at 6.3880 as the PBOC maintains its firm fixing stance. USD/THB has fallen by 0.40%, and other regional currencies have shown modest gains today.
Regional currency traders are likely having one eye on Indonesia’s histrionics this morning, with the Jakarta Composite Index hitting its limit-down circuit breaker after Jakarta announced it was re-entering COVID-19 lockdown this coming Monday. That has flowed into currency markets with the Indonesian rupiah falling today, USD/IDR rising to 14,850.00. The Bank of Indonesia (BI) is actively selling US dollars this morning, to stem the rupiah fall. Having traced out a triple top at 14,900.00 over the past two months, that appears to be the BI’s line in the sand. Further losses cannot be discounted from here although we expect BI to continue intervening heavily. As South-East Asia’s largest economy, extended economic travails in Indonesia will have an inevitable dampening effect on its regional neighbours.
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