Polls show gap closing on Boris

The Pound has moved off its highs as the latest key opinion poll has shown the Conservative’s lead narrowing.

YouGov’s second MRP survey predicts that the Tories lead has moved down to 28 versus 68 two week ago. So, although it still looks like a healthy lead, the odds of a hung parliament have increased and therefore traders have become more cautious over Sterling.

Pre-election opinion polls have to be taken with a pinch of salt and they often (famously) miss the mark. So, the markets are gearing up for a volatile couple of days as this election is still not a done deal and the result will have such significance moving forward.

A Tory majority is widely expected to boost the Pound as it creates more certainty over Brexit and their policies are more market friendly. A Labour majority is very unlikely but if it occurred the Pound would be expected to tumble because of their perceived less market-friendly policies (e.g. nationalisation, tax/spending/borrowing hikes). A labour-led coalition (with SNP/Lib Dems) is also expected to weaken the Pound in the short-term but not as much as Labour’s policies would be watered down. In this scenario, it’s also likely that the Pound would later rebound as a second Brexit referendum would likely be called.

With voting set to start within less than 24-hrs, the market will take more interest in the real sentiment on ground tomorrow. It’s likely they’ll be some large swings as the exit polls come out and then as the results trickle in overnight (we expect most of the volatility to occur between 1am and 6am Friday). Traders will be particularly focused on some of the key swing seats and whether the Tories can break Labour’s ‘red wall’ (in the north and Midlands). Watch this space.

Pound makes further strides after latest polls

The pound pushed to some fresh highs this morning as opinion polls continue to show a sizable lead for the Tories.

The latest survey from Kantar showed a lead of around 12% points for Boris. This supports the Pound because it creates less uncertainty and a clear path over Brexit, alongside more centre ground market-friendly policies.

As a result, the GBP/USD finally broke above a key technical resistance level and now trades at the highest levels since May. The GBP/EUR has also broken a cent higher from Monday and now trades at the highest levels since May. It’s important to note that it’s not far from some of the highest levels for around 30-months.

We’re now only a week away from the 12th December poll and with the polls starting be more consistent, the market are realigning themselves by buying back into the Pound. Obviously polls can be wrong and there’s still time for things to change but bets are moving this way at the moment.

Pound buoyant as polls predict a Tory majority

Sterling has pushed back towards the top end of its range this afternoon as opinion polls continue to show the Tories as favourites for the 12th December general election.

Boris Johnson’s party manifesto hasn’t rocked the boat with there being no ground-shattering promises or blunders. He’s vowed to deliver Brexit without any further delays, a modest boost to public spending, and no new taxes. Some polls now predict a Tory majority of nearly 50 MPs and bookies have reduced their odds of a hung parliament. This has bolstered the Pound as investors prefer certainty (over Brexit/politics) and the market-friendly policies of the centre-right.

In other news, US-China trade talks appear to be more encouraging. China has announced that they will be much stricter on intellectual property rules, which has been a major concern for the US, and President Trump has refrained from signing a bill to support the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. This, along with other optimistic comments, has boosted risk sentiment.

As a result, the GBP/EUR and GBP/USD are both up around 1-cent from last week. Sterling is now trading towards the top of its range and a lot of the expectations surrounding a Tory victory have been priced into Sterling so further gains might be limited (for now). We might therefore remain relatively range-bound for the foreseeable but there could be some more volatility as we get closer to the December poll.

Pound poised as Boris misses chance for his Saturday vote

The pound remains poised today after Saturday’s much-hyped meaningful Brexit vote never happened.

An amendment to the bill was passed just before the vote was supposed to happen which prevented it from going ahead. The so-called Letwin amendment was designed to prevent the approval of the deal until legislation to implement it had been passed, thereby removing the risk of an accidental no-deal. MPs want more time to scrutinize the legal text before voting on it.

The Government will make a second attempt to get a vote on it today, to either approve or oppose the new deal in principal, but it seems likely that John Bercow will reject this (so it might be tomorrow or later in the week). There’s likely to be a flurry of other amendments put forward as well, including remaining in the customs union and adding on a confirmatory vote onto the proposed deal. 

The result of this meant that Boris had to follow the Benn bill and write a letter to the EU requesting a 3-month extension. He sent an unsigned letter requesting the extension and then a second letter explaining why it was a bad idea. The EU will now consider whether to grant this extension and they might take their time to respond to this but are ultimately expected to agree to one over a no-deal exit.

Overall, although the main vote never happened, there were positives from this weekend’s events and the chances of a no-deal Brexit seem to be falling which has given the Pound support. It’s now poised around some key technical levels with the GBP/USD and GBP/EUR trading around 5-month highs.

Pound rally continues on deal hopes but DUP could be a sticking point

Sterling has continued to gain ground as hopes of a Brexit deal continue give buyers a reason to maintain the rally. 

Brexit negotiations for a draft deal went on late last night and are continuing this morning. Michel Barnier is expected to then brief EU States this afternoon and we’ll get an idea of how the negotiations went. If they go well, we might expect EU leaders to ratify the deal at the imminent EU summit (starts tomorrow). This would likely create some further gains for the Pound. If a draft deal fails to be agreed this morning, however, then we would expect sterling to quickly give back its gains as no-deal comes back into play. 

If the draft Brexit deal is given the green light from the EU, then there will be an emergency sitting in UK Parliament this Saturday. The big question will be whether Boris can get enough support for his deal in Parliament. Reports say that the DUP won’t be able to support what is on offer at the moment. So, unless today’s negotiations can provide enough to sway the DUP, then he might struggle and may be forced to ask for a 3-month extension (or find a way for no-deal).

As you can imagine, the Sterling volatility index is extremely high at the moment, so the market are expecting these big swings to continue. Today could be a big day. 

As a result, the GBP/USD and GBP/EUR have broken some big levels and trade around 5-month highs.

Pound rallies as Ireland/Boris see “a pathway to a possible Brexit deal”

The Pound has rallied overnight following a very positive meeting between Boris Johnson and Ireland’s leader (Varadkar) where it was said they can see “a pathway to a possible Brexit deal”.

These words led to a 2.5 cent jump in the GBP/USD and around a 2-cent move higher in the GBP/EUR. There are various media reports suggesting what the new deal could look like but some are saying that the UK have made some major concessions. While Varadkar spoke to the press after the meeting, Boris remained tight-lipped, which could be a sign that he wants to break things gently to the more fervent Brexiteers in his party (and the supporting DUP).

Some of the reports suggest a pared down free trade agreement to replace parts of the Withdrawal Agreement. A new branding of the Irish backstop might help Boris as this was a key sticking point of the previous failed attempts at a deal. Other reports suggest that Northern Ireland would leave the customs union with the rest of the UK but continue to follow the same rules. This idea is a bit vague and it’s unlikely to go down well with the DUP who do not want Northern Ireland to be treated differently to the rest of the UK.

We’re likely to find out more details later in the day when the chief negotiators (Barnier and Barclay) meet again to thrash things out. Barnier has been heavily accused by the UK of hindering the progress in any talks. If he comes on board with the new proposals, together with the Irish’s support, then it certainly does appear to have some legs. The market now feel an exit deal is more likely to be achieved before Boris’s 31st Oct deadline, but there’s still a long way to go. An extension still seems likely, but Boris might be able to get acceptance for this if the new plans are in full motion.

If we get initial approval from Brussels later on today, then we would expect some further gains to the Pound and vice-versa if they’re shot down by Barnier. If there is a positive response, the market will then focus on the UK’s side of things and whether there would be enough support in Parliament to get this agreed once the details are known. A special session of the House of Commons has already been organised for Saturday 19th Oct which is straight after the key EU Summit on 17-18th Oct.

Things continue to be very fluid and will remain very volatile. We will update you on any major developments.