FX Strategy: Cable drops after stalled Brexit talks get nowhere

Forex

Sterling fell back to session lows with a view to the week lows being tested after Brexit talks seem to have gone nowhere. The two sides are still too far apart. Specifically, the EU wants to agree on fisheries and state aid rules before making progress on anything else. EU demands for a level playing field are non-negotiable if there is to be more than a low-level agreement.

Michel Barnier was not upbeat and whilst reiterating that a deal is possible, he said an agreement seems ‘unlikely’ and is concerned about the state of play. David Frost, his British counterpart, said talks were useful but little progress had been made.

The next round of talks take place the week commencing September 7th. Whilst the market was not positioned for a breakthrough this week, it’s getting closer and closer to the crunch point – the longer we go without a deal the more pressure comes onto the pound.

The two sides are still a long way from agreement on key terms. We should note that Barnier as the EU mouthpiece will always be pessimistic right up to the moment a deal is done. Nevertheless, on certain fundamental principles it looks as though the chasm is too great to bridge.

Grappling with the competing concerns of sovereignty (UK) and integrity of the single market (EU) goes to the very heart of the talks. Both sides need to make philosophical compromises before the practical compromises can follow. This is where I start to become concerned about a big, comprehensive deal being done.

Meanwhile EURUSD has dropped under 1.18 after a weak round of PMIs raised fears about the pace of recovery in the Eurozone and traders are starting to show concern the recent ramp in EUR may be overdone. Net long positioning in EUR has become very stretched and the EURUSD is susceptible to a squeeze lower.

Chart: Weekly GBPUSD – trying to break descending trend line. A close under here opens path back to the roaring 20s. We’ve seen a lot more volatility in GBPUSD this week with larger daily moves than generally seen of late.

Chart: Daily GBPUSD – Competing forces at work. Last week’s MACD bearish crossover still points to lost momentum and near-term weakness despite the throwover this week. Golden cross acted as a bullish confirmation of the thrust higher this week. Bollinger starting to point to break out, with downside in favour following today’s Brexit briefing and generally risk-off tone to the end of the week favouring USD.