The British Pound featured in overnight trading as Prime Minister May re-shaped the Brexit discussions to force a parliamentary choice between a clean exit and a deferral of the deadline. The Pound broke through US $1.32 resistance, aided by a weaker dollar after Fed chair Powell re-iterated responsiveness to a lower growth outlook for the US economy.

The lower US dollar fuelled initial gains for North American shares after a modest rally on continental bourses. Industrial commodities rose, led by crude oil and iron ore, although precious metals were largely unresponsive. As a consequence both the Australian and New Zealand have now reason to key levels at 72 and 69 US cents respectively.

Futures markets indicate opening gains for stocks across the Asia Pacific region. However poorer corporate reports may drag on today’s session. Seek, Bellamy’s, Trade Me and Vocus all dashed expectations, with software group Bravura Solutions providing a lonely bright spot.