Pound Steadies as MPs Vote For Brexit Delay; Yen Up after BoJ Decision
The British pound edged up on Friday in Asia after lawmakers approved a motion setting out the option to ask the European Union (EU) for a short delay if parliament can agree on a Brexit deal by March 20, or a longer delay if no deal can be agreed in time.
The pound was mostly steady after the motion was passed late on Thursday. The GBP/USD pair last traded at 1.3246 by 11:12 PM ET (03:12 GMT) on Friday, up 0.05%.
Earlier this week, British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal suffered a second defeat in Parliament. A new vote on her twice-rejected deal is likely next week, according to various media reports.
Lawmakers must now decide whether to back a deal they feel does not offer a clean break from the EU, or reject it and accept that Brexit could be watered down or even thwarted by a long delay.
Meanwhile, the USD/JPY pair edged down 0.1% to 111.62 following the Bank of Japan (BoJ)’s decision to keep its short-term interest rate target at minus 0.1% as expected. The central bank maintained the 10-year JGB yield target around 0%, also in line with expectation.
The BoJ tweaked its assessment of the Japanese economy, citing growing risks from the slowdown in the external sector.
The USD/CNY pair traded near flat at 6.7184. U.S.-China trade talks returned to focus after U.S. President Donald Trump said during a St. Patrick’s Day reception on Thursday that the U.S. will probably know in the next three or four weeks whether a trade deal with China is possible.
“If that one gets done, it will be something that people will be talking about for a long time,” Trump said, noting that China has been “very responsible.”
Citing three sources briefed on the discussion, CNBC reported that China is planning a state visit by President Xi Jinping and that Beijing wants to have all the details of the trade deal fully ironed out before its leader sits down with Trump.