Hard Brexit, soft Pound | Calamatta Cuschieri

The Sterling is once again in the limelight, despite reassurances the UK will avoid a ‘hard Brexit’

Sterling hit new two and three month lows against the Euro and the US dollar before recovering slightly intraday
Sterling hit new two and three month lows against the Euro and the US dollar before recovering slightly intraday

In a day characterised by multi-period highs, lows and new records, the UK’s currency was unable to recover from yesterday’s sell off despite attempts to reassure investors the country would avoid a ‘hard Brexit’. Sterling hit new two and three month lows against the Euro and the US dollar before recovering slightly intraday.

It’s not all bad news though, as the weakening currency has been a boon for exporters and the FTSE 100. The latter has marked a record-breaking 10 day streak of consecutive highs, closing higher on each trading day since Christmas. Investors not exposed to the currency will be rubbing their hands at the returns, especially since the index just marked its best annual performance relative to the EuroStoxx 600 in 30 years.

Records, highs and first

Healthcare stocks helped the NASDAQ to an intraday high on Tuesday, Iraq plans to push crude oil output in February to an all-time high, the World Cup will be expanding to a record 48-teams as from 2026, and Xi Jinping is set to become the first Chinese President to attend the annual holiday World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

That’s four records in just one paragraph, which is – ahem – a personal record… Moving on.

Bitcoin and the PBoC

98% of bitcoin’s trading volume comes from China
98% of bitcoin’s trading volume comes from China

Bitcoin, the popular crypto-currency has tumbled almost 20% after a massive rally over the last few weeks. While Satoshi Nakamoto’s creation is notoriously volatile, the fall may be driven by increased scrutiny by Chinese regulators who want to ensure bitcoin is not used to facilitate capital flight.

98% of bitcoin’s trading volume comes from China, driven by fears of a depreciating renminbi. Suspicion that the virtual asset is contributing to outflows prompted the People’s Bank of China to meet with the country’s three largest bitcoin exchanges last week to exchange a few ‘friendly reminders’ about risk control and irregular practices.

Despite this, bitcoin investors believe that it is still highly unlikely that the virtual currency is facilitating large-scale transfers, quoting high spreads and caps on volume as the main hindrances. Chinese bitcoin platforms also require physical proof that links investors to a domestic bank account, meaning transactions are not anonymous. 

This article was issued by Andrew Martinelli, Investment Manager at Calamatta Cuschieri. For more information visit, www.cc.com.mt. The information, view and opinions provided in this article is being provided solely for educational and informational purposes and should not be construed as investment advice, advice concerning particular investments or investment decisions, or tax or legal advice. Calamatta Cuschieri Investment Services Ltd has not verified and consequently neither warrants the accuracy nor the veracity of any information, views or opinions appearing on this website.

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