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For those just now coming out of a nine-month coma: Theresa May will trigger Article 50 today, beginning the process for the UK to leave the EU.

This comes a day after the Scottish parliament voted to demand another independence referendum, to which the UK government has already refused to agree.

UK government officials said the start of Brexit negotiations would not act as the cut-off date for free movement of people from the EU to the UK, but there are increasing jitters from businesses, both locally and overseas, about the effects of leaving the EU. As the two-year countdown to leave the bloc is set to begin, some European lawmakers want the British people to know they can still change their minds.

The pound weakened 0.3 per cent to $1.2412 in Asia trade, bringing its losses over the past two sessions to 1.2 per cent, in response to the start of the Brexit process on Tuesday night.

Asia Pacific equities were mixed on Wednesday, with an oil-driven rally on Wall Street feeding through to energy stocks in the region. That saw Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 index climb 0.8 per cent, but Tokyo’s Topix index was down 0.2 per cent and in Hong Kong the Hang Seng index was up just 0.2 per cent in the afternoon session.

Futures tip the FTSE 100 to rise 0.3 per cent when markets open in London, while the S&P 500 is expected to climb 0.1 per cent at the open in New York.

Corporate earnings reports out today include Saga and Alliance Pharma.

The economic calendar for Wednesday is serene in its detachment (all times London):

  • 07.45: France consumer confidence
  • 08.00: Switzerland KOF spring economic forecast
  • 09.00: Italy consumer confidence
  • 09.30: UK mortgage approvals and foreign gilt holdings
  • 12.00 onward: Article 50 notification expected
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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