UK parliament set to vote in favour of PM’s Brexit deal

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20 December 2019

thomasdodds

Sterling edged back towards the 1.30 level against the US dollar this morning, weighed down by concerns that Boris Johnson would thwart attempts to extend the UK’s EU transition period beyond the end of December 2020 deadline.

M
Ps are due to vote on Johnson’s Brexit Withdrawal Agreement Bill today, which is now overwhelmingly expected to pass. This would set the wheels in motion for the UK to leave the European Union by the end of January. While this removes the near-term threat of a ‘no deal’, Johnson’s proposal to include a clause that would prevent the government from extending the transition period has got investors concerned.

The result from the House of Commons vote is expected at around 3pm GMT (4pm CET) this afternoon. Once passed, MPs will further scrutinise the Withdrawal Agreement, before it gets passed onto the House of Lords, which are expected to debate the bill before the end of the year. Given that the bill is all but certain to pass through parliament today, we don’t expect too much reaction in the pound when it inevitably does.

Andrew Bailey appointed new BoE governor

Yesterday’s Bank of England meeting largely came and went without anyone really noticing. Policymakers deemed it too early to gauge whether the recent election victory for Boris Johnson would remove the Brexit uncertainty in the UK. According to the bank’s statement ‘there was no evidence yet about the extent to which policy uncertainties among companies and households had declined following recent domestic policy developments’.

The main headline actually came out this morning after it was announced that chief executive of the FCA Andrew Bailey would replace Mark Carney as governor of the Bank of England when his term comes to an end at the end of January. Bailey’s views on monetary policy are not yet necessarily known, although we should get a much better idea following his first official meeting as governor in March.

US macro data comes in weaker-than-expected

This afternoon’s revised third quarter GDP numbers out of the US will be the main data point to look out for today. The market is not expecting any meaningful revisions from the 2.1% annualised estimate, so any deviation from this could shift the US dollar today.

The dollar was broadly weaker against its major peers on Thursday following some softer-than-expected data out of the world’s largest economy. Existing home sales fell sharply, while initial jobless claims also moved higher last week. As mentioned yesterday, there has been little reaction in the currency markets to Trump’s impeachment, largely given that he is still highly unlikely to actually be removed from office.

Meanwhile, news out of the Euro Area has been pretty light on the ground in the past few sessions. EUR/USD has been slightly weaker in the past few days, although the main pair looks set to stay in a fairly narrow range ahead of the quiet holiday period.