Parliament says no to Brexit deal
The British Parliament voted this morning on PM Theresa May's Brexit deal and delivered a resounding 'no' by a margin of 230 votes — the largest defeat for a sitting government in history.
May will now face a no-confidence motion tomorrow, which may trigger a general election.
Sterling has actually rallied following the vote, trading at US$1.2886 from US$1.2668 just before the vote. The foreign exchange market is clearly happy to move to a divorce on 29 March without a deal in place.
Germany reported a slowing rate of economic growth overnight; GDP rose by 1.5% in 2018 from 2.2% in 2017. 2018 recorded the slowest rate of growth since 2013.
Given that Germany is the powerhouse of the EU, closely followed by the UK, this outcome, combining the UK leaving the EU in March, does not augur well for future EU economic growth.
Over the pond, JP Morgan Chase announced its profit rose by an underlying 34% in the fourth quarter, but fell short of analysts’ expectations after fixed income trading revenues fell sharply amid December’s market turmoil.
US markets have just closed, all in the black, leaving our futures with a four point gain going into the open.
The Australian dollar, meanwhile, is at US$0.7200 and bonds are two basis points higher at the shorter end of the curve and one point at the longer end.
For those who think US$46,000 for a Rolls Royce picnic basket is expensive, Reuters reported this morning that hair and make-up for Donald Trump's inauguration cost the American taxpayer US$10,000.
Alex Moffat is a director at Joseph Palmer & Sons.