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British Pound Slips over White Paper Blues

The British pound has posted considerable losses in the Friday session. In North American trade, the pair is trading at 1.3150, down 0.42% on the day. The pair is at its lowest level since July 3. It’s a quiet end to the week, with no British data releases. In the U.S, the key event is UoM Consumer Sentiment, which is expected to dip to 98.1 points.

With the Brexit talks in disarray, both sides are making contingency plans for a ‘hard Brexit’, in the event that the parties fail to reach an agreement. On Thursday, the British government released a white paper, which is a blueprint for trade arrangements with EU when Britain leaves the club in March 2019. The proposal suggests that the UK and the EU will enter into an “associate agreement”, which maintains current agreements with regards to goods but not services. This would hurt the London financial sector, which is already facing the loss of hundreds of financial jobs from London to the continent. Hardliner Brexiters oppose the white paper, which they argue does not give Britain full control over trade policy. Will the Europeans buy what May is selling? EU policymakers are reviewing the white paper and if it is rejected, investors could get panicky and send the pound lower.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell gave the U.S economy a solid report card on Thursday. In a radio interview, Powell said that the economy is “in a really good place”, pointing to President Trump’s massive tax cut scheme and increased spending as key factors in boosting economic growth. Powell did not address monetary policy and said he was uncertain as to the effects of the current trade disputes which has embroiled the U.S and its trading partners. The Fed will likely press the rate trigger in the second half of the year, but it is an open question as to whether we’ll see one hike over the next six months. The Fed is projecting growth of 2.8% in 2018, compared to 2.3% in 2017. Powell will be in the spotlight next week when he appears for his semi-annual testimony before Congress.

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