GBP/USD. And again Brexit: the pound fell into the zone of turbulence
The situation in the foreign exchange market is changing rapidly: in the morning the pound-dollar pair showed a positive attitude, taking advantage of the weakness of the US currency – but in the second half of the day the British sharply fell throughout the market, testing the 25th figure paired with the greenback. It was followed by the euro, which was unable to hold local highs and hastily returned to December positions. After the New Year holidays, traders again remembered Brexit, the prospects of which are still very vague.
The immediate reason for the price collapse of the GBP/USD was the message that Theresa May is holding an emergency meeting of the cabinet ministers today, on the agenda of which there will be only one issue – preparation for a "hard" Brexit. Traders reacted anxiously to this news, although, in my opinion, today's situation should be considered from a slightly different angle.
The fact is that since the beginning of December, when Theresa May canceled the Brexit vote, the general mood among British parliamentarians has not changed. It would be possible to talk about any changes if Brussels went to a meeting and outlined the validity period of the backstop. But Europe refused, so the prime minister returned to London with nothing, refusing to even hold a press conference. May's behavior is quite understandable: after all, the Europeans not only refused her request, but even criticized her for the lack of structural elements. Brussels expressed bewilderment: what kind of "legal guarantees" can we talk about if the draft agreement already approved by the European Union and British ministers provides for consideration of this issue during the transition period?
In other words, over the past three weeks, the situation has not changed, whereas after two weeks the British deputies must render their verdict to the proposed deal. Theresa May still needs to consolidate the votes of not only her fellow party members (117 of whom voted for her resignation), but also find 10 more votes outside the Conservative Party. The task, to put it mildly, is not easy, so the prime minister needs to act "decisively and convincingly."
And apparently, May decided to play the "no alternative" card of the proposed agreement again. The previous attempt ended in failure: according to preliminary estimates, on the eve of December 11, the prime minister lacked a few dozen votes, which was the reason for the cancellation of the vote. Now the situation is somewhat different, so the prime minister will certainly try her luck again - especially since there are simply no other options.
Let me remind you that since around the end of September, May has been actively focusing on the catastrophic consequences of chaotic Brexit, recalling that the proposed deal is a single alternative to this scenario. This position was repeated by the European Union: according to the European side, the members of the Alliance will under no circumstances reconsider any points of the agreement reached. Speaking with a "united front", Brussels and London tried to convince members of Parliament that they have little choice: either they vote for the deal (with all its shortcomings), or let the country "derail", allowing a chaotic scenario.
But shortly before the key vote, the deputies began to discuss possible alternatives. Among them is the rejection of Brexit as such (the European court at the end of 2018 allowed such an option) or a new referendum. As a result, Theresa May's script has lost its trump card, which lay in the proverbial no alternative.
Why does May again begin to escalate the situation, "scaring" politicians with hard Brexit? The fact is that in late December, the leader of the British opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, disappointed supporters of the second referendum with his unexpected statement. He said that his party supports Brexit, but at the same time the Labour Party will try to change the terms of the deal if they win the early elections in 2019 (if they are held, of course). Thus, the probability of holding a second referendum has largely decreased, since now only small parties defend this idea, which are unable to change the situation as a whole.
Other proposed scenarios look too ephemeral to "compete" with the draft deal proposed by May. That is why in the coming days the situation will only escalate: supporters of the prime minister will, under any pretext, "scare" the public and politicians with catastrophic consequences of a hard Brexit. This strategy can persuade doubting MPs that a bad deal is better than a chaotic option – especially in the absence of clear alternatives.
Traders of GBP/USD, in turn, will have to be patient: the pound reacts sharply to any comments or events related to the prospects of the "divorce process". Therefore, the period of "panic" will be perceived by the British quite painfully. At the moment, the pair is heading to the nearest, strongest support level of 1,2505 (the lower line of the Bollinger Bands on the daily chart), where a corrective pullback may follow.
Analysis are provided by InstaForex