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CURRENCIES: British Pound Hits Two-year Low With Brexit Pressure Unabated

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07/17/2019 | 07:19am EST

By Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch

The British pound on Wednesday traded at its lowest level in more than two years, as concerns about the prospect of a hasty exit from the European Union continued to pressure the U.K. currency.

The poundfell as low as $1.2382 vs. the U.S. dollar, down from $1.2407, marking the lowest level since April 2017.

Against the euro, the poundfell as low as EUR1.1048, down from EUR1.1068.

Boris Johnson, the front runner to become the leader of the Conservative Party and therefore prime minister, was reported by Sky News (https://news.sky.com/story/boris-johnson-team-considering-plan-to-suspend-parliament-in-run-up-to-brexit-11764347) to be considering suspending parliament for two weeks to prevent it from blocking a Brexit. His campaign said that it's an option but that nothing has been decided.

Another issue is that both Johnson and his Conservative Party rival, Jeremy Hunt, have said they will not accept the so-called Irish backstop deal agreed by the current prime minister, Theresa May, with the European Union. The winner of the Tory party's vote is expected to be announced on July 23.

"The rising perceived probability of a disorderly Brexit after the Oct. 31 deadline is reflected in the options market, with the sterling implied volatility curve heavily kinked around the deadline date (that is 3-4 month tenors) vs the close-to-normally upward sloping shape of the curve two to three months ago," said strategists at ING in a note to clients.

The data released Wednesday met economist expectations. Consumer prices in the 12 months ending June stayed at 2%, right at the Bank of England's target.

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
BRITISH POUND / AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR (GBP/AUD) 0.32% 1.94842 Delayed Quote.7.09%
BRITISH POUND / CANADIAN DOLLAR (GBP/CAD) 0.08% 1.76263 Delayed Quote.0.83%
BRITISH POUND / JAPANESE YEN (GBP/JPY) 0.25% 146.435 Delayed Quote.4.23%
BRITISH POUND / NEW ZEALAND DOLLAR (GBP/NZD) 0.21% 2.03034 Delayed Quote.6.42%
BRITISH POUND / SWISS FRANC (GBP/CHF) 0.21% 1.31677 Delayed Quote.4.75%
BRITISH POUND / US DOLLAR (GBP/USD) 0.25% 1.33861 Delayed Quote.4.50%
EURO / BRITISH POUND (EUR/GBP) -0.13% 0.8317 Delayed Quote.-7.18%
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