Pound drops as Johnson faces battle to pass Brexit bill

Forex traders sold sterling, pushing it back down below $1.29, and it extended losses in Asia. (File/AFP)
Updated 18 October 2019

Pound drops as Johnson faces battle to pass Brexit bill

  • The pound rallied almost to $1.30 on Thursday following news that negotiators had hammered out an agreement
  • However, joy was soon tempered by the realization that the British prime minister faces an uphill task in getting the deal past lawmakers

Sterling fell Friday as investors fret over Boris Johnson’s chances of pushing his Brexit deal through parliament, while Asian markets were mostly down after data showed China’s economy expanded at its slowest pace in nearly three decades.
The pound rallied almost to $1.30 on Thursday following news that negotiators had hammered out an agreement that would avoid Britain leaving the EU without a divorce deal — a move many warn would be economically catastrophic.
However, joy was soon tempered by the realization that the British prime minister faces an uphill task in getting the deal past lawmakers, with opposition MPs and even some in his own Conservative party saying they were against it.
Most importantly, Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which props up Johnson’s government, said it was “unable to support these proposals.”
Forex traders sold sterling, pushing it back down below $1.29, and it extended losses in Asia.
Focus is now on a crucial vote on the deal pencilled in for Saturday.
“Much will depend on the PM’s ability to get some if not all DUP and (Scottish National Party) MPs onside, in addition to also getting the backing from the 21 ex-Conservative MPs he expelled from the party last month,” said National Australia Bank’s Rodrigo Catril.
“Rejection of the deal might well see more political brinkmanship around a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, but the most likely scenario would be yet another extension of the 31 October Brexit date.”
Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA, said whichever way the vote goes, “traders should prepare themselves for some severe volatility on Monday morning, with multiple big-figure moves a strong possibility.”
In early trade London stocks eased 0.4 percent, Paris shed 0.5 percent and Frankfurt was flat.

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2857 from $1.2891 at 2050 GMT
Euro/pound: UP at 86.48 pence from 86.31 pence
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1122 from $1.1127


Saudi Arabia: OPEC, allies coordinating to hold Saturday meeting

Updated 05 June 2020

Saudi Arabia: OPEC, allies coordinating to hold Saturday meeting

  • Russian energy ministry earlier confirmed the meeting

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said on Friday that OPEC and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, were working to hold their oil output policy meeting on Saturday.

“The conditions right now warrant hopefully successful meetings. Coordination is under way to hold OPEC and OPEC+ meetings tomorrow afternoon,” Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said.

The Russian energy ministry earlier similarly said a video conference of a group of leading oil producers, known as OPEC+, would be held on Saturday.

The producers known as OPEC+ previously agreed to cut supply by 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd) during May and June to prop up prices that collapsed due to the coronavirus crisis.

Cuts have been due to taper to 7.7 million bpd from July to December.