Pound firms after EU leaders allow May more time on Brexit

The pound found a firmer footing in Asia-Pacific trading on Friday after European leaders agreed to move the Brexit cliff-edge back until at least April 12.

The currency, usually thinly traded in Asia trading, was up 0.3 per cent at $1.3148 against the dollar ahead of the London open.

The move came after Brussels decided to push the deadline back from March 29, however the new time frame still only gives prime minister Theresa May a tight window to secure MPs’ backing for her proposed Brexit deal or chose another course.

If MPs approve Mrs May’s deal in a vote next week, the UK will be offered to delay Brexit until May 22 but if the Commons does not back the deal, the EU will allow a shorter delay until April 12 allowing Mrs May to chart another course.

Sterling fell as much as 1.5 per cent in the prior session following comments from French president Emmanuel Macron suggesting that Britain is set for a chaotic no-deal exit if Mrs May’s deal is rejected.

Alfonso Esparza, an Oanda analyst, said the currency “has been sensitive to rising no-deal probabilities as more time is not the answer if some compromises are not made in the time allotted”.


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