Brexit worries send sterling to 11-week low

Fall comes despite continuing resilience of British economy

Sterling has fallen around 12%  against the euro since the UK voted on June 23rd  to leave the EU

Sterling has fallen around 12% against the euro since the UK voted on June 23rd to leave the EU

 

Data suggesting the British economy kept its momentum at the end of last year despite June’s Brexit vote could not support sterling on Wednesday as worries over a “hard” departure from the EU sent it to an 11-week low.

Numbers showed industrial output rose 2.1 per cent in November, recovering from a 1.1 per cent drop in October and beating expectations for a 0.8 per cent jump.

Yet despite initially inching higher on the data, the pound quickly gave up those gains, briefly dipping below $1.21 for the first time since October 25th before recovering to $1.2124, leaving it down 0.4 per cent on the day.

The euro was slightly higher at 86.7p sterling.

The pound posted its worst day in three months on Monday after UK prime minister Theresa May said she was not interested in keeping “bits” of its European Union membership. That sparked fears Britain was heading for a hard Brexit in which access to the single market plays second fiddle to immigration controls.

Key driver

“The data was pretty firm. Every indication says demand hasn’t really fallen yet in the UK, and for an economy that’s still largely domestic-demand driven that’s not a bad thing. So even though the Brexit narrative is clearly undermining the currency, the economic narrative is different.”

Mr Yu said investors were not sure how to react to an article in the Guardian that reported government ministers had conceded they would lose a supreme court appeal to be able to formally trigger Brexit talks without parliamentary approval, as there was “no new information” in the story.

Earlier, Britain’s second biggest supermarket, Sainsbury’s, followed fellow supermarket chain Morrisons by reporting better-than-expected sales over Christmas.

Good news

“Corporates and investors in the UK and overseas appear to be writing off good news on the basis that bad news lies ahead. If a market cannot go up on good news it must go down, today is no exception.”

Traders said they would be watching Ms May for any more signals on the likely direction of Brexit negotiations during the weekly prime minister’s questions.

Sterling has fallen around 12 per cent against the euro since the UK voted on June 23rd to leave the EU. – (Reuters)