The day has finally come where the UK government will begin the two-year process to exit the EU. British Prime Minister Theresa May has signed the Brexit letter to invoke the Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty yesterday evening and the letter is on its way to Brussels to the President of the European Council Donald Tusk. The official Article 50 exit process is due to begin on Wednesday after 11:30GMT, when Britain’s Ambassador to the EU, Tim Borrow is expected to hand over the letter to the Council President Donald Tusk. Today, expect some of the most extreme GBP volatility we have seen since the June Brexit Referendum.
The USD pulled away from 4-1/2-month lows against a currency basket on Wednesday after solid data backed expectations for more U.S. interest rate hikes this year, while sterling was knocked by Britain triggering its exit from the European Union.
U.S. Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer also gave the dollar a lift as he said in a television interview that two more increases to U.S. interest rates this year seemed “about right.” The Fed raised rates in March, and a majority of the central bank’s policymakers foresee at least two more increases this year.
The US healthcare failure reform raised doubts that Trump would be able to carry out his fiscal stimulus and tax cuts pressured the dollar to 110.11 JPY, its lowest since Nov. 18. It last stood at 111.22 yen, up slightly on the day.
Sterling, meanwhile, wallowed at one-week lows, down 0.3 percent at $1.2412 as investors braced for British Prime Minister Theresa May’s move later on Wednesday to formally file paperwork to leave the European Union.
Further weighing on the pound, Bank of England interest rate-setter Ian McCafferty highlighted a weak outlook for the economy on Tuesday, and said he did not know if he would vote to increase borrowing costs at the next BoE meeting in May.
Crude oil prices ticked higher but remained firmly locked within a now-familiar range above the $47/bbl figure. Gains were based on reports that Libya cut shipments from the Sharara oil field, its biggest. From here, the official EIA weekly inventory flow data is in the spotlight.