Pound hits eleven day low following Barnier’s Brexit comments

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4 September 2018


Sterling was on the back foot versus its major peers again this morning, with concerns over Brexit continuing to weigh on the UK currency.

ngoing worries over the possibility of a no deal Brexit caused the Pound to reverse the entirety of last week’s gains in the first couple of trading session of this week. The latest decline in the currency comes off the back of some forthright comments from the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier, who claimed over the weekend that he was ‘strongly opposed’ to many elements of Theresa May’s Brexit plans.

Uncertainty over the future leadership within the Bank of England also caused investors to steer clear of the Pound on Monday. Governor of the BoE Mark Carney is likely to address speculation over his future at a Treasury select committee today. Carney is due to step down next summer, although could be encouraged to stay on amid Britain’s imminent EU exit. We think any confirmation of an extension in Carney’s tenure would provide good support for Sterling, should such an announcement come today.

Fears over global trade war support the US Dollar

In the US, the greenback rose by around half a percent on the Euro this morning as uncertainty over global trade caused investors to buy those currencies deemed safer. Donald Trump will be able to follow through on his plans to impose $200 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese imports on Thursday after the ending of a public comment period.

With the US markets closed on Monday, there were no major economic data releases of note. PMI data this afternoon and a speech from Fed member Evans could draw some attention. This week’s main event will, however, be Friday’s nonfarm payrolls report. Investors are eying another solid reading around the 180k mark, combined with a modest uptick in wage growth. We think that even a disastrous report that massively undershoots expectations would not be enough to prevent the Federal Reserve from raising interest rates again at its next monetary policy meeting later this month.

Investors eye Euro-area PMI, retail sales data

Ongoing concerns over global trade sent the Euro back below the 1.16 mark against the US Dollar this morning, roughly at a level that we expect the common currency to trade at throughout much of the remainder of the year.

Some soft manufacturing PMI data out of Germany on Monday didn’t help the currency’s cause, although this was made up for by some relatively encouraging prints elsewhere. This week should be a busy one in the Euro-area. Tomorrow morning’s services PMI will be followed up by retail sales data and Friday’s GDP figures, all of which could shift the single currency.