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A scant nine months after the referendum it has finally happened: with the trigger well and truly pulled, Britain now has slightly less than two years left in the EU.

Theresa May triggered a two-year countdown to Britain’s breach with Europe on Wednesday by serving notice to Brussels that she intends to end their 44-year relationship in pursuit of a new place for the UK in the global order.

Sterling was slightly choppy after the Brexit trigger, with the dollar recovering ground against the euro and Treasury yields rising. Wall street struggled to find a clear trend, with the S&P 500 index closing 0.1 per cent higher, though oil prices were up after relatively bullish data on US crude inventories.

In Asia Pacific equities, Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 index is up 0.1 per cent in early trading, while futures tip Tokyo’s Topix index to dip 0.3 per cent at the open and in Hong Kong the Hang Seng index is expected to start trading flat.

Corporate earnings reports out today include China Everbright, Ali Pictures, Bank of Queensland, Hanergy Thin Film and Beijing Enterprises Water Group.

The economic calendar for Thursday is elegant in its simplicity (all times Hong Kong):

  • 09.00: Swift global Rmb payments
  • 16.30: Hong Kong retail sales
  • Macau’s hotel occupancy rate is also expected out today.

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