Sterling slumped to its weakest level since April 2017 against the dollar on Monday after Theresa May told parliament the vote on the Brexit deal, which was due to take place on Tuesday, would be delayed until further notice.
Sterling fell 1.4 per cent against the greenback to a day’s low of $1.2548. The pound also tumbled 1.4 per cent against the euro to €1.1018, as investors fretted about what comes next now that the “meaningful vote” on Mrs May’s Brexit deal that had been due to take place on Tuesday has been delayed indefinitely.
The sharpened sense of concern was also apparent in the government bond market. The 10-year gilt yield dropped 8.5 basis points to 1.183 per cent. The rally in the price of the paper underscores concern of a slowdown in growth in ahead.
Mrs May told the House of Commons that the government would increase its contingency measures due to rising odds of a no deal Brexit, which the Bank of England and private economists have warned could deal a powerful blow to the economy.
Adding to the sense of uncertainty, Speaker of the House, John Bercow, described the government’s plan to pull the vote as deeply discourteous. He called on Mrs May to allow the government to give MPs a “say on the matter” on whether the vote should be delayed.
Leo Varadkar, the Irish Taoiseach, has ruled out reopening discussions on the Brexit treaty. The withdrawal agreement — including the contentious Irish backstop — is the only agreement on the table, Mr Varadkar said on Monday afternoon.
fastFT be updating this post regularly with the latest sterling moves as the afternoon progresses, but the message is: buckle up.
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