Pound Dives After UK Election Upset

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Britain’s pound took a battering dive on Friday, staying at its two-month lows, after Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party lost its parliamentary majority in elections, plunging the country into potential political chaos days before the start of Brexit negotiations.

Sterling fell 1.6% to $1.2748 after sliding as much as 2.5% to $1.2636 in early European trade , its weakest level since April 18.

With no clear winner emerging from Thursday’s election, Prime Minister Theresa May was fighting to hold on to her job on Friday as she faced calls to quit after her election gamble to win a stronger mandate she had sought to conduct exit talks with the rest of the European Union failed, leaving no single party with a clear claim to power just 10 days before the start of negotiations on Britain’s divorce from the European Union.

Lee, Hardman, a currency strategist in London, said the market wants more clearness now as far as who will be the next Prime Minister, what kind of form will the government take and eventually how all that feeds through into upcoming Brexit negotiations are concerned.

“In the near term the increased political uncertainty and the risk of more disorderly Brexit negotiations should enforce pound weakness.”

The surprise of a result that raised questions about how Britain will go on with its plan to leave the EU, and whether any party can form a stable government, sent the pound to eight-week lows against the dollar and its lowest levels in seven months versus the euro.

After falling sharply on an exit poll released when polls closed at 21:00 GMT, which showed Britain was set for a hung parliament, the pound had steadied a little in Asian trading. However, it fell sharply again as London traders arrived at their desks, as it became clear that no party had won a majority.

Another currency strategist in London, Viraj Patel, said that the pound’s nightmare scenario would always be the failure to have a safe political stability and the result of a hung parliament.

“Hopes that political uncertainty would decrease substantially under a more stable Conservative government…(have) been all but dashed,” said Patel.

“With the two-year Article 50 clock ticking, the passage of time is sterling-negative,” he added, referring to the formal Article 50 process by which Britain is set to leave the EU. “A working government is needed as soon as possible to avoid a further drop in the pound.”

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Pound Sags After Deadly Manchester Explosion

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Sterling slipped on Tuesday after a suspected suicide attack killed at least 22 people and wounded 59 at a pop concert in the English city of Manchester.

Sterling eased 0.1 percent to $1.298, extending Monday’s 0.3 percent loss. The pound dropped 0.3 percent to 144.34 yen, after losing 0.2 percent on Monday.

The attack came up just two-and-a-half weeks before an election that Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to win easily, though polls showing that the contest was tightening put the sterling under pressure.

At least 22 people were murdered in a suicide bombing at a pop concert by U.S. singer Ariana Grande along with children in the northern English city of Manchester. Fifty-nine (59) others were injured in the attack carried out by a suicide bomber, who died after detonating an improvised explosive device.

If the attack on the concert is confirmed as a terrorist attack, this would be the worst and deadliest attack in Britain by militants since four British Muslims killed 52 people in suicide bombings on London’s transport system in July 2005.

“This has been the most horrific incident we have had to face in Greater Manchester and one that we all hoped we would never see.” said Hopkins. “We have been treating this as a terrorist incident and we believe, at this stage, the attack last night was conducted by one man. The priority is to establish whether he was acting alone or as part of a network.”

Euro At Six-Month High

The euro hit a six-month high overnight after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said it was “too weak” due to the ECB’s monetary policy, pointing out that this helped explain Germany’s relatively high trade surplus.

The common currency jumped 0.1 percent to $1.1249 after jumping as much as 0.5 percent and closing 0.3 percent higher on Monday.

Junichi Ishikawa, a senior FX strategist in Tokyo, said that Merkel’s comments boosted the euro and so the weakened dollar is not essentially a bad thing for Trump.

The chancellor’s comments delivered fresh momentum to the euro, which has been on a bullish footing since the French presidential elections earlier this month. Upbeat euro zone data and a widening spread between the 10-year German and U.S. government bond yields have also supported the currency.

Moreover, The safe-haven yen advanced against major peers like the dollar and euro but its gains were modest.

The dollar was barely down 0.09 percent at 111.14 yen after a dip to 110.860 but the euro rallied 0.03 percent to 125.12 yen.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of trade-weighted peers, was 0.1 percent lower at 96.80.

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