The UK's big day has arrived at last. The letter from UK prime minister Theresa May to the EU to trigger Article 50 has been delivered, with additional comments due today from the prime minister and perhaps other UK and European officials.
This action kicks off formal Brexit negotiations with a two-year deadline for reaching a deal. An initial official response from the EU is due within 48 hours.
Overnight sterling continued the tumble that started yesterday after the Scottish parliament voted to call for a second independence referendum for late 2018 or early 2019. The UK government's stance is for no vote until after Brexit is complete. In the last few hours, with the trigger approaching, sterling has already been bouncing back and may remain active through the rest of the week.
With more details on the negotiating stances of both sides due over the next few days, both GBP and EUR could be impacted. Traders may look for indications of whether or not either side is willing to compromise, what they are looking for in a deal, if a transition agreement is possible and how big the bill for each side could be.
At this early stage one would expect to see quite a bit of posturing and extreme positions that can then be negotiated upon. Once more details are available on what each side wants the street can start to anticipate where the two sides may end up.
Stock markets have been on hold overnight awaiting Brexit news. The FTSE is down 0.2% while the Dax is up 0.3%. US index futures and the Nikkei are flat, holding on to yesterday's gains.
With the exception of GBP, currency markets have been steady overnight. CAD is is slightly following a 0.5% gain in Brent and WTI oil prices. Last night the API reported a 2 mmbbl increase in US crude oil inventories down from about 5 mmbbls last week. Oil and related markets like gasoline, energy currencies and energy stocks may remain active through the morning with DOE inventory reports due at 1030 am EDT.
There have been no major corporate announcements today.
Significant announcements released overnight include:
US API crude oil inventories 1.9 mmbbls
Upcoming significant economic announcements include:
9:20 am EDT FOMC Evans speaking
11:30 am EDT FOMC Rosengren speaking
1:15 pm EDT FOMC Williams speaking
10:00 am EDT US pending home sales street 2.5%
10:30 am EDT US DOE crude oil inventories street 2.0 mmbbls vs previous 4.9 mmbbls
10:30 am EDT US DOE gasoline inventories street (2.0 mmbbls)
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