What can the value of the pound tell us about Brexit? – The Independent

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What can the value of the pound tell us about Brexit? – The Independent

The pound rose against the dollar on Thursday night and Friday on renewed hopes that a no-deal Brexit will be averted. That outcome is potentially less likely after a report that the Democratic Unionist Party is willing to back Theresa May’s “Plan B” in a vote next Tuesday.

It’s the latest ascent in what has been a very bumpy ride for sterling over the last three years. Each time politicians seem to be veering the country closer to a cliff-edge Brexit, the currency plunges; every time a compromise appears likely, sterling gains in value.

Adam Cole, head of FX strategy at RBC Capital Markets, predicts that a no-deal Brexit – seen as disastrous for the UK economy – would wipe 10 per cent off the value of the pound.


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At the other end of the spectrum of potential outcomes, Cole predicts that a Final Say referendum and a vote to remain would see sterling gain 10 per cent.

Brexit is comfortably the biggest driver behind sterling exchange rates at the moment, Cole says.

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1/20

Brexit supporters outside Parliament

PA

2/20

An anti-Brexit protester adjusts her pro-EU wig

AFP/Getty

3/20

A message to Jeremy Corbyn in support of a people’s vote

Getty

4/20

A mock Titanic captained by Theresa May heads towards an iceberg in a stunt by campaigning group Avaaz

AP

5/20

Anti-Brexit protesters outside Parliament

PA

6/20

Protesters of opposing sides are in close contact outside of Parliament

PA

7/20

Paintings of Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn

Getty

8/20

Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage speaks to the media at the protests outside Parliament

Reuters

9/20

A pro-Brexit protester in Parliament Square

Getty

10/20

Opposing protesters share the space outside Parliament

Getty

11/20

An anti-Brexit protester holds EU balloons outside Parliament

Reuters

12/20

Anti-Brexit protesters stand on Westminster Bridge ahead of today’s vote

PA

13/20

Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage speaks to the media at the protests outiside Parliament

Reuters

14/20

Anti-Brexit protesters demonstrate outside the Houses of Parliament

EPA

15/20

A pro-Brexit protester sets up outside Parliament

Reuters

16/20

An Avaaz campaigner holds a People’s Vote life float

Reuters

17/20

A demonstrator holds a sign advocating a no-deal Brexit outside Parliament

AFP/Getty

18/20

An anti-Brexit protester waves an EU flag on Westminster Bridge ahead of today’s vote

PA

19/20

Protesters of opposing sides demonstrate outside Parliament

AFP/Getty

20/20

Protesters of opposing sides stand near Parliament

Reuters


1/20

Brexit supporters outside Parliament

PA

2/20

An anti-Brexit protester adjusts her pro-EU wig

AFP/Getty

3/20

A message to Jeremy Corbyn in support of a people’s vote

Getty

4/20

A mock Titanic captained by Theresa May heads towards an iceberg in a stunt by campaigning group Avaaz

AP

5/20

Anti-Brexit protesters outside Parliament

PA

6/20

Protesters of opposing sides are in close contact outside of Parliament

PA

7/20

Paintings of Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn

Getty

8/20

Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage speaks to the media at the protests outside Parliament

Reuters

9/20

A pro-Brexit protester in Parliament Square

Getty

10/20

Opposing protesters share the space outside Parliament

Getty

11/20

An anti-Brexit protester holds EU balloons outside Parliament

Reuters

12/20

Anti-Brexit protesters stand on Westminster Bridge ahead of today’s vote

PA

13/20

Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage speaks to the media at the protests outiside Parliament

Reuters

14/20

Anti-Brexit protesters demonstrate outside the Houses of Parliament

EPA

15/20

A pro-Brexit protester sets up outside Parliament

Reuters

16/20

An Avaaz campaigner holds a People’s Vote life float

Reuters

17/20

A demonstrator holds a sign advocating a no-deal Brexit outside Parliament

AFP/Getty

18/20

An anti-Brexit protester waves an EU flag on Westminster Bridge ahead of today’s vote

PA

19/20

Protesters of opposing sides demonstrate outside Parliament

AFP/Getty

20/20

Protesters of opposing sides stand near Parliament

Reuters

So it would be easy to think that currency movements could tell us something about the progress of Brexit talks. Perhaps, but it would be unwise to read too much into it.

Markets might simply be wrong about the likely outcome. 

We often talk about markets as if they are definable, tangible entities but in reality they are huge numbers of companies, investors, traders and brokers buying and selling to each other. 

The price of the pound is an aggregation of millions of transactions between those participants. More sellers and the price will go down, more buyers it will go up; simple supply and demand.

While many of these participants have a significant financial interest in correctly predicting the movement of currency values, they frequently get things wrong.

Banks spend vast sums applying statistical models and researching down to the tiniest detail in order to get an edge in currency markets.


What moves currency markets?

But that doesn’t necessarily mean they have any special information that allows them to predict the outcome of a political process that, it is fair to say, has been less than smooth.

The report on the DUP that has helped boost the pound wasn’t special insider knowledge obtained only by financial institutions; it was printed in The Sun.

The Brexit referendum itself is a clear example of currency markets being a poor predictor of a political event. The pound suffered its biggest single-day plunge ever on 24 June precisely because most market participants thought the UK would vote to remain. 

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1/50 25 January 2019

Former engineers Derek Mack (left) and Mike Kelloway, both from the Isle of Wight, inside the remains of the Black Arrow projectile, the UK’s only rocket to successfully launch a satellite into orbit, are unveiled at a storage facility in Penicuik, near Edinburgh, after almost 50 years languishing in the Australian Outback

PA

2/50 24 January 2019

Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond makes a statement outside Edinburgh Sheriff Court after he was arrested and charged by police. No further details of the charge against the 64-year-old have been released. A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that a 64-year-old man has been arrested and charged, and a report will be sent to the procurator fiscal

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3/50 23 January 2019

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4/50 22 January 2019

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6/50 20 January 2019

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Getty

7/50 19 January 2019

Women’s march for “bread and roses”, rally against austerity in London

Angela Christofilou/The Independent

8/50 18 January 2019

A team of specialists who are tasked with piecing together the iconic dinosaur Dippy unpack bespoke crates containing the bone structure at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow. As part of a road trip across the UK, Dippy has arrived in Scotland and will be on show

Getty

9/50 17 January 2019

A farmer rides a quad bike as snow and frost settles on the peaks of the hills in the Brecon Beacons

PA

10/50 16 January 2019

Theresa May speaking during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons the day after her Brexit deal was defeated in Parliament

PA

11/50 15 January 2019

Police monitor Brexit protesters outside the houses of parliament in London. Parliamentarians are voting on the postponed Brexit EU Withdrawal Agreement, commonly known as The Meaningful Vote, deciding on Britain’s future relationship with the European Union

EPA

12/50 14 January 2019

Andy Murray produced one of the performances of his career, but after more than four hours and with an injured hip that will inevitably end his career at some point this year, he exited the Australian Open in the first round at the hands of 22nd seed Roberto Bautista Agut. It looked to be a straight-forward victory for the Spaniard as he surged into a two-set lead, but Murray is not a three-time Grand Slam champion for nothing and he supremely levelled the match despite hobbling around the court from the get-go. However, in the end his hip injury just took too much out of him, and Bautista Agut clinched a breath-taking 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-7 (4-7), 2-6 victory to reach the second round where he’ll face Australia’s John Millman

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13/50 13 January 2019

British Prime Minister, Theresa May and her husband Philip attend Sunday morning prayers at her local church in Maidenhead, Britain, 13 January 2019. Members of the British Parliament are due to vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal on 15 January 2019, with Britain set to leave the European Union on 29 March 2019.

EPA

14/50 12 January 2019

Demonstrators wearing yellow vests protest near Broadcasting House on in London, England. Demonstrators from both the left and the right wings of British politics have adopted the ‘Gilets Jaunes’ or Yellow Vest form of protest that first became prominent in France throughout November and December 2018. Various groups meet in London today to protest the Brexit deal due to be voted on in the UK Parliament

Getty Images

15/50 11 January 2019

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Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe were greeted by Chase Bridge Primary School children waving UK and Japanese national flags during a visit to Twickenham Rugby Stadium in, west London. Abe is visiting Britain and set to hold talks with May following her visit to Tokyo and Kyoto last year

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17/50 9 January 2019

Former leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron (right) speaks to a pro-Brexit protester outside the Houses of Parliament. MPs will resume debating Theresa May’s Brexit plan a month after she postponed the original commons vote. Met police have been urged to take action against protesters who abuse MP’s. This comes after Conservative MP Anna Soubry was verbally abused and called ‘Nazi scum’ by pro-Brexit protesters on 7 January

EPA

18/50 8 January 2019

Alex Salmond speaking outside the Court of Session in Edinburgh after it ruled that the Scottish Government acted unlawfully regarding sexual harassment complaints against the former first minister

PA

19/50 7 January 2019

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May meets with a mother and baby during a visit to a facility within Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool. May made a speech setting out the government’s long-term plan for the National Health Service

AFP/Getty

20/50 6 January 2019

The Lions part group of professional performers on Bankside, during the annual Twelfth Night celebrations on the South Bank in central London.

PA

21/50 5 January 2019

Elliott List celebrates after scoring Gillingham’s first goal during the FA Cup third round match between against Cardiff City at Priestfield Stadium. The League One side went on to knock the Premier League out of the competition

Getty

22/50 4 January 2019

Frances Connolly, 52, and Patrick Connolly, 54, from Moira, County Armagh in Northern Ireland, who scooped a £115 million EuroMillions jackpot in the New Year’s Day lottery draw, during a photocall at the Culloden Estate and Spa in Holywood, Belfast, as they announce their win

PA

23/50 3 January 2019

The offshore patrol vessel HMS Mersey leaves Portsmouth Harbour as it is deployed to patrol the English channel following an increase in migrants crossing in small boats

PA

24/50 2 January 2019

Rail protestors wearing masks with the faces of Prime Minister Theresa May and Transport Secretary Chris Grayling outside Kings Cross St Pancras station in London ahead of a visit by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to highlight ‘rising rail fares and falling standards of service on Britain’s railways’ as part of Labour’s Rail Action Day

PA

25/50 1 January 2019

Police restraining a man after he stabbed three people at Victoria Station in Manchester last night. Two commuters – a man and woman in their 50s – were taken to hospital with knife injuries and a British Transport Police (BTP) officer was stabbed in the shoulder. Police said a man was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and remains in custody

Sam Clack/PA

26/50 31 December 2018

Competitors in fancy dress run across the Pennine tops near Haworth, West Yorkshire, in the annual Auld Lang Syne Fell race which attracts hundreds of runners every year

PA

27/50 30 December 2018

UK Border Force Cutter, ‘Search’ berths at Ramsgate Harbour. The growing number of migrants attempting to cross the English Channel has been declared a “major incident” by UK home secretary Sajid Javid

Getty

28/50 29 December 2018

People remove a Santa hat on the 20 metres tall steel sculpture ‘Angel of the North’, outside Gateshead, Tyne and Wear. The pranksters responsible climbed up overnight to remove it. One of the group, dressed as Dr Seuss character the Grinch, was photographed pulling the hat down from the 65ft structure, with the help of three others dressed as Santa. The hat had been placed on top of the famous Anthony Gormley artwork on Christmas Eve, prompting delight from onlookers

PA

29/50 28 December 2018

The steam locomotive U Class 31806 makes its way past Corfe Castle during the Winter Warm Up on the Swanage Railway in Dorset

PA

30/50 27 December 2018

The scene in Launcelot Close, Andover, where the body of a man has been found after an explosion caused a building to collapse

Hannah Louise/Twitter/PA

31/50 26 December 2018

Shoppers enter the Selfridges store on Oxford Street during the Boxing Day sales in London

Reuters

32/50 25 December 2018

Barbary macaques at Blair Drummond Safari Park have a great time finding the tasty morsels hidden amongst the wrapped parcels given to them by keepers. The animals need care and attention every day and Christmas is no different when the animals are checked, fed and given enrichment to keep them stimulated

PA

33/50 24 December 2018

A Santa hat on the 20 metres tall steel sculpture ‘Angel of the North’, outside Gateshead, Tyne and Wear. The hat is believed to have been added overnight, with passers-by stopping to take photos in the early hours of the morning. The Sir Antony Gormley sculpture was installed in 1998, with celebrations marking its 20th birthday this year

PA

34/50 23 December 2018

Team Dash and Splash swimmers, some in fancy dress, getting into the Irish Sea at Bangor beach in Northern Ireland

PA

35/50 22 December 2018

Members of the Shakti Sings choir sing as druids, pagans and revellers gather in the centre of Stonehenge, hoping to see the sun rise, as they take part in a winter solstice ceremony at the ancient neolithic monument near Amesbury. The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year and the event is claimed to be more important in the pagan calendar than the summer solstice, because it marks the ‘re-birth’ of the sun for the new year

Getty

36/50 21 December 2018

Environmental protestors from the Extinction Rebellion group chant during a demonstration outside BBC Broadcasting House in London. The group was calling for the media organisation to provide further in-depth coverage of climate-related issues in future reporting

Getty

37/50 20 December 2018

A police helicopter flies over Gatwick airport in search of the person operating the drone that has caused the airport to be closed today

Getty

38/50 19 December 2018

There was controversy in the Commons today as Jeremy Corbyn allegedly called the Prime Minister a stupid woman under his breath after she made a joke at PMQs

AP

39/50 18 December 2018

Jose Mourinho after he was sacked by Manchester United with immediate effect. The Portuguese leaves United sixth in the table with the 3-1 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday proving his final game in charge. A club statement read: “Manchester United announces that manager Jose Mourinho has left the club with immediate effect. The club would like to thank Jose for his work during his time at Manchester United and to wish him success in the future. A new caretaker manager will be appointed until the end of the current season, while the club conducts a thorough recruitment process for a new, full-time manager.”

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Firefighters and police officers attend a memorial service at the Harrods Bombing memorial in west London, on the 35th anniversary of the terrorist attack which left three police officers and three members of the public dead, on December 17, 1983

PA

41/50 16 December 2018

Theresa May has hit out at Mr Blair, accusing him of “insulting”the British people and the office of prime minister by “undermining” Brexit talks with calls in Brussels for a second referendum.

PA

42/50 15 December 2018

Chester Zoo after a fire broke out in the Monsoon Forest habitat area.

PA

43/50 14 December 2018

Fracking has been halted at the Preston Road site in Lancashire after a series of tremors peaking at 0.9 magnitude

Reuters

44/50 13 December 2018

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar today told Theresa May that he expects assurances that there will be no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland

AP

45/50 12 December 2018

Theresa May announces that she is to face a vote of no confidence today

Reuters

46/50 11 December 2018

Armed police restrain a man inside the grounds of the Houses of Parliament in London

Reuters

47/50 10 December 2018

A demonstrator dressed as Theresa May sells Brexit Fudge in Old Palace Yard, Westminster

PA

48/50 9 December 2018

A pro-brexit demonstrator speaks into a megaphone at the “Brexit betrayal” march in London. Counter-demonstrators also staged a march in London today

Angela Christofilou/The Independent

49/50 8 December 2018

People in Santa costumes in Trafalgar Square, London, as they take part in Santacon

PA

50/50 7 December 2018

A large mural depicting one star being chipped away from the EU flag is seen in Dover. The work has been attributed to Banksy

Reuters


1/50 25 January 2019

Former engineers Derek Mack (left) and Mike Kelloway, both from the Isle of Wight, inside the remains of the Black Arrow projectile, the UK’s only rocket to successfully launch a satellite into orbit, are unveiled at a storage facility in Penicuik, near Edinburgh, after almost 50 years languishing in the Australian Outback

PA

2/50 24 January 2019

Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond makes a statement outside Edinburgh Sheriff Court after he was arrested and charged by police. No further details of the charge against the 64-year-old have been released. A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that a 64-year-old man has been arrested and charged, and a report will be sent to the procurator fiscal

PA

3/50 23 January 2019

A couple walk through a park, in High Wycombe, as some areas of the UK see the first snow of the year

Getty

4/50 22 January 2019

Ttributes left outside Cardiff City Stadium after a plane carrying their new signing Emiliano Sala disappeared over the English Channel on Monday night. The aircraft disappeared off radar after losing contact with air traffic control around 8:20pm, with rescue attempts abandoned through the night due to worsening conditions. Lifeboats and helicopters resumed the search 8am on Tuesday morning, but the latest update from Guernsey Police is that there is “no trace of the aircraft” and officials have now said that they are “not expecting anyone to be alive”

Reuters

5/50 21 January 2019

A super blood wolf moon over the peace statue on Brighton seafront during a lunar eclipse

PA

6/50 20 January 2019

Forensic officers inspect the remains of the van used as a car bomb on an attack outside Derry Court House in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Dissident republicans are suspected to have carried out the attack which has been condemned by Northern Ireland politicians

Getty

7/50 19 January 2019

Women’s march for “bread and roses”, rally against austerity in London

Angela Christofilou/The Independent

8/50 18 January 2019

A team of specialists who are tasked with piecing together the iconic dinosaur Dippy unpack bespoke crates containing the bone structure at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow. As part of a road trip across the UK, Dippy has arrived in Scotland and will be on show

Getty

9/50 17 January 2019

A farmer rides a quad bike as snow and frost settles on the peaks of the hills in the Brecon Beacons

PA

10/50 16 January 2019

Theresa May speaking during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons the day after her Brexit deal was defeated in Parliament

PA

11/50 15 January 2019

Police monitor Brexit protesters outside the houses of parliament in London. Parliamentarians are voting on the postponed Brexit EU Withdrawal Agreement, commonly known as The Meaningful Vote, deciding on Britain’s future relationship with the European Union

EPA

12/50 14 January 2019

Andy Murray produced one of the performances of his career, but after more than four hours and with an injured hip that will inevitably end his career at some point this year, he exited the Australian Open in the first round at the hands of 22nd seed Roberto Bautista Agut. It looked to be a straight-forward victory for the Spaniard as he surged into a two-set lead, but Murray is not a three-time Grand Slam champion for nothing and he supremely levelled the match despite hobbling around the court from the get-go. However, in the end his hip injury just took too much out of him, and Bautista Agut clinched a breath-taking 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-7 (4-7), 2-6 victory to reach the second round where he’ll face Australia’s John Millman

Reuters

13/50 13 January 2019

British Prime Minister, Theresa May and her husband Philip attend Sunday morning prayers at her local church in Maidenhead, Britain, 13 January 2019. Members of the British Parliament are due to vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal on 15 January 2019, with Britain set to leave the European Union on 29 March 2019.

EPA

14/50 12 January 2019

Demonstrators wearing yellow vests protest near Broadcasting House on in London, England. Demonstrators from both the left and the right wings of British politics have adopted the ‘Gilets Jaunes’ or Yellow Vest form of protest that first became prominent in France throughout November and December 2018. Various groups meet in London today to protest the Brexit deal due to be voted on in the UK Parliament

Getty Images

15/50 11 January 2019

An emotional Andy Murray revealed this year’s Australian Open could be the last tournament of his career. Struggling to hold back tears, the 31-year-old Scot said that the continuing pain from what he described as his “severely damaged right hip” had led him to decide to end his career this year. He said that he had been planning to make this summer’s Wimbledon his farewell tournament, but feared that he might have to bring down the curtain before then

Getty Images

16/50 10 January 2019

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe were greeted by Chase Bridge Primary School children waving UK and Japanese national flags during a visit to Twickenham Rugby Stadium in, west London. Abe is visiting Britain and set to hold talks with May following her visit to Tokyo and Kyoto last year

AFP/Getty

17/50 9 January 2019

Former leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron (right) speaks to a pro-Brexit protester outside the Houses of Parliament. MPs will resume debating Theresa May’s Brexit plan a month after she postponed the original commons vote. Met police have been urged to take action against protesters who abuse MP’s. This comes after Conservative MP Anna Soubry was verbally abused and called ‘Nazi scum’ by pro-Brexit protesters on 7 January

EPA

18/50 8 January 2019

Alex Salmond speaking outside the Court of Session in Edinburgh after it ruled that the Scottish Government acted unlawfully regarding sexual harassment complaints against the former first minister

PA

19/50 7 January 2019

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May meets with a mother and baby during a visit to a facility within Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool. May made a speech setting out the government’s long-term plan for the National Health Service

AFP/Getty

20/50 6 January 2019

The Lions part group of professional performers on Bankside, during the annual Twelfth Night celebrations on the South Bank in central London.

PA

21/50 5 January 2019

Elliott List celebrates after scoring Gillingham’s first goal during the FA Cup third round match between against Cardiff City at Priestfield Stadium. The League One side went on to knock the Premier League out of the competition

Getty

22/50 4 January 2019

Frances Connolly, 52, and Patrick Connolly, 54, from Moira, County Armagh in Northern Ireland, who scooped a £115 million EuroMillions jackpot in the New Year’s Day lottery draw, during a photocall at the Culloden Estate and Spa in Holywood, Belfast, as they announce their win

PA

23/50 3 January 2019

The offshore patrol vessel HMS Mersey leaves Portsmouth Harbour as it is deployed to patrol the English channel following an increase in migrants crossing in small boats

PA

24/50 2 January 2019

Rail protestors wearing masks with the faces of Prime Minister Theresa May and Transport Secretary Chris Grayling outside Kings Cross St Pancras station in London ahead of a visit by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to highlight ‘rising rail fares and falling standards of service on Britain’s railways’ as part of Labour’s Rail Action Day

PA

25/50 1 January 2019

Police restraining a man after he stabbed three people at Victoria Station in Manchester last night. Two commuters – a man and woman in their 50s – were taken to hospital with knife injuries and a British Transport Police (BTP) officer was stabbed in the shoulder. Police said a man was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and remains in custody

Sam Clack/PA

26/50 31 December 2018

Competitors in fancy dress run across the Pennine tops near Haworth, West Yorkshire, in the annual Auld Lang Syne Fell race which attracts hundreds of runners every year

PA

27/50 30 December 2018

UK Border Force Cutter, ‘Search’ berths at Ramsgate Harbour. The growing number of migrants attempting to cross the English Channel has been declared a “major incident” by UK home secretary Sajid Javid

Getty

28/50 29 December 2018

People remove a Santa hat on the 20 metres tall steel sculpture ‘Angel of the North’, outside Gateshead, Tyne and Wear. The pranksters responsible climbed up overnight to remove it. One of the group, dressed as Dr Seuss character the Grinch, was photographed pulling the hat down from the 65ft structure, with the help of three others dressed as Santa. The hat had been placed on top of the famous Anthony Gormley artwork on Christmas Eve, prompting delight from onlookers

PA

29/50 28 December 2018

The steam locomotive U Class 31806 makes its way past Corfe Castle during the Winter Warm Up on the Swanage Railway in Dorset

PA

30/50 27 December 2018

The scene in Launcelot Close, Andover, where the body of a man has been found after an explosion caused a building to collapse

Hannah Louise/Twitter/PA

31/50 26 December 2018

Shoppers enter the Selfridges store on Oxford Street during the Boxing Day sales in London

Reuters

32/50 25 December 2018

Barbary macaques at Blair Drummond Safari Park have a great time finding the tasty morsels hidden amongst the wrapped parcels given to them by keepers. The animals need care and attention every day and Christmas is no different when the animals are checked, fed and given enrichment to keep them stimulated

PA

33/50 24 December 2018

A Santa hat on the 20 metres tall steel sculpture ‘Angel of the North’, outside Gateshead, Tyne and Wear. The hat is believed to have been added overnight, with passers-by stopping to take photos in the early hours of the morning. The Sir Antony Gormley sculpture was installed in 1998, with celebrations marking its 20th birthday this year

PA

34/50 23 December 2018

Team Dash and Splash swimmers, some in fancy dress, getting into the Irish Sea at Bangor beach in Northern Ireland

PA

35/50 22 December 2018

Members of the Shakti Sings choir sing as druids, pagans and revellers gather in the centre of Stonehenge, hoping to see the sun rise, as they take part in a winter solstice ceremony at the ancient neolithic monument near Amesbury. The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year and the event is claimed to be more important in the pagan calendar than the summer solstice, because it marks the ‘re-birth’ of the sun for the new year

Getty

36/50 21 December 2018

Environmental protestors from the Extinction Rebellion group chant during a demonstration outside BBC Broadcasting House in London. The group was calling for the media organisation to provide further in-depth coverage of climate-related issues in future reporting

Getty

37/50 20 December 2018

A police helicopter flies over Gatwick airport in search of the person operating the drone that has caused the airport to be closed today

Getty

38/50 19 December 2018

There was controversy in the Commons today as Jeremy Corbyn allegedly called the Prime Minister a stupid woman under his breath after she made a joke at PMQs

AP

39/50 18 December 2018

Jose Mourinho after he was sacked by Manchester United with immediate effect. The Portuguese leaves United sixth in the table with the 3-1 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday proving his final game in charge. A club statement read: “Manchester United announces that manager Jose Mourinho has left the club with immediate effect. The club would like to thank Jose for his work during his time at Manchester United and to wish him success in the future. A new caretaker manager will be appointed until the end of the current season, while the club conducts a thorough recruitment process for a new, full-time manager.”

Reuters

40/50 17 December 2018

Firefighters and police officers attend a memorial service at the Harrods Bombing memorial in west London, on the 35th anniversary of the terrorist attack which left three police officers and three members of the public dead, on December 17, 1983

PA

41/50 16 December 2018

Theresa May has hit out at Mr Blair, accusing him of “insulting”the British people and the office of prime minister by “undermining” Brexit talks with calls in Brussels for a second referendum.

PA

42/50 15 December 2018

Chester Zoo after a fire broke out in the Monsoon Forest habitat area.

PA

43/50 14 December 2018

Fracking has been halted at the Preston Road site in Lancashire after a series of tremors peaking at 0.9 magnitude

Reuters

44/50 13 December 2018

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar today told Theresa May that he expects assurances that there will be no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland

AP

45/50 12 December 2018

Theresa May announces that she is to face a vote of no confidence today

Reuters

46/50 11 December 2018

Armed police restrain a man inside the grounds of the Houses of Parliament in London

Reuters

47/50 10 December 2018

A demonstrator dressed as Theresa May sells Brexit Fudge in Old Palace Yard, Westminster

PA

48/50 9 December 2018

A pro-brexit demonstrator speaks into a megaphone at the “Brexit betrayal” march in London. Counter-demonstrators also staged a march in London today

Angela Christofilou/The Independent

49/50 8 December 2018

People in Santa costumes in Trafalgar Square, London, as they take part in Santacon

PA

50/50 7 December 2018

A large mural depicting one star being chipped away from the EU flag is seen in Dover. The work has been attributed to Banksy

Reuters

If they had predicted it correctly, the decline in sterling would have taken place before the vote and not have been so painfully sudden.

The 2016 vote was a simple binary choice on which there had been reams and reams of polling. The current political situation is anything but. It has many potential outcomes, none of which seem to be truly understood, even by some of the MPs arguing for them.

The second reason not to set too much stall by the currency market as a political sage is that there are a host of other factors beyond politics that affect exchange rates. 

Interest rates are the most obvious and closely correlated. A higher return on holding the pound pushes up demand and therefore the price.

Which leads to a related point: currencies are always priced in pairs. Pound v dollar, euro v rouble etc.

So if demand for the other currency in that pair increases, the pound will suffer a relative decline.


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On Friday, the pound rose 0.7 per cent against the dollar but fell slightly against the euro. Events in Europe had strengthened the single currency, events that had nothing to do with the Brexit saga. 

While it would be nice to have a handy index illuminating the road ahead, the value of the pound is only of marginal use in this regard.

In other words, when it comes to Brexit, it’s still anybody’s guess.

Got an unanswered question about Brexit? Send it to [email protected] and we’ll do our best to supply an answer in our Brexit Explained series

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