Pound set for biggest monthly gain vs euro in 5 months

Versus the euro, the pound edged 0.1 per cent higher to 90.59 pence in early London trading. — Reuters pic
Versus the euro, the pound edged 0.1 per cent higher to 90.59 pence in early London trading. — Reuters pic

LONDON, Aug 30 — The pound edged higher versus the euro today and is set for its biggest monthly rise in five months as investors pared some of their excessive short bets against the British currency before parliament returns from its summer recess next week.

The opposition Labour Party said yesterday it would trigger an emergency debate in parliament next week to try to stop Prime Minister Boris Johnson taking Britain out of the European Union without a withdrawal deal.

“Though the threat of a no-deal Brexit is higher than before, extreme short positioning has been partially the reason for its strength and also some investors see value in the pound around these levels,” said Neil Mellor, a senior FX strategist at BNY Mellon in London.

Some money managers even sense an opportunity, believing the British currency is cheap, and the government’s gambit could make clinching a new withdrawal deal with the EU more likely.

Versus the euro, the pound edged 0.1 per cent higher to 90.59 pence in early London trading. On a monthly basis, the pound is set for its biggest monthly rise since February against the euro.

Despite this week’s events, most big banks still see a no-deal Brexit on October 31 as an unlikely outcome. Some such as JP Morgan assess that probability at 35 per cent — up from a previous 25 per cent — while others such as Nomura and Deutsche Bank put it between 40 per cent and 50 per cent.

The median forecast for a disorderly Brexit — whereby no deal is agreed — jumped in an August 2-7 Reuters poll of economists to 35 per cent, up from 30 per cent given in July and the highest since Reuters began asking this question two years ago.

Against the dollar, the pound was broadly steady at US$1.2173 (RM5.13) and not far away from a 2-1/2 year low of US$1.2015 reached earlier this month. — Reuters

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