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Asian markets sink but pound edges up ahead of new Brexit vote

AFP  |  Hong Kong 

Asian markets retreated Wednesday after two days of gains but the pound enjoyed a slight uptick after the previous day's sharp losses as British officials looked to ease concerns about the possible impact of a no-deal

The sterling saw wild fluctuations Tuesday as it hit a near two-year high on Prime Minister had won a last-minute revision to her agreement with the

But it then tanked to a three-week low as it was tossed out by MPs at Westminster later in the day.

The decision means lawmakers will vote Wednesday on whether to leave the EU on March 29 without an economic agreement -- which is expected to fail -- then Thursday on whether to extend the deadline.

In a bid to ease concerns about the financial impact on the economy if MPs vote later in the day to leave with no agreement, officials in said they will slash tariffs on 87 per cent of imports, and will not apply customs checks on the border with

However, there remains a lot of uncertainty, with some observers suggesting the latest developments put the country a step closer to another referendum, while others say it could make a divorce without an agreement more likely.

"My tuppence is that parliament has, in their own mind, seized control of the process and will duly ask and likely get an extension to the 29 March exit date," said

"The breathing space granted will be used by whomever to renegotiate a more palatable deal for the UK. Except nobody has asked the Europeans yet.

A short-term gain may yet belie long-term pain."

And Michael Hewson, at in Britain, warned there was no guarantee a delay would automatically be allowed.

"Voting against a no-deal Brexit doesn't of itself remove the option of no deal, as this is already currently written in statute, and the EU could well decide to play hardball and take the view that the only options available are the current deal, or to revoke article 50," he said in a note.

The from added to selling pressure on Asian equity markets, which had enjoyed a bounce Monday and Tuesday from last week's battering, with investors still on edge over the state of the global economy.

ended one per cent lower, while fell 1.1 per cent and Hong Kong lost 0.4 per cent.

shed 0.4 per cent, gave up 0.2 per cent and was off 0.8 per cent. and also retreated, though Taipei, and were slightly higher.

With very little coming out of and regarding the trade talks, investors are moving to the sidelines until there is something concrete to buy on.

"Until the world's two largest economies conclude an agreement... it will be difficult to gauge a clearer picture of the global economy in 2019," added Halley.

"The outcome of the trade talks -- and perhaps the US-eurozone will likely follow -- will dictate whether we will gently roll down the slope or off the edge of the cliff."

In early trade, fell 0.1 per cent, edged up 0.1 per cent and fell 0.2 per cent.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, March 13 2019. 14:25 IST