Pound coin and UK notes

Asian markets edged higher on Thursday ahead of a possible post-Brexit deal and rallies on key US share indexes.

Japan’s Nikkei gained in early trade while markets in Australia, South Korea and Singapore also saw modest rises.

The pound gained 0.2% against the US dollar, rising to $1.353 early in the Asian trading day.

The British currency had surged 0.9% in the previous session to snap a three-day losing streak.

“If a deal does transpire on 24 December, GBP is likely to make further gains toward $1.40,” strategist Tim Riddell from Australian bank Westpac said.

The pound was also boosted after France lifted its ban on freight coming from the UK, which it had enacted in response to a more contagious coronavirus variant.

The euro also strengthened 0.1% to $1.22025, adding to a 0.2% gain overnight.

The US dollar also saw some price movement as hopes for a UK-EU agreement would protect some $1tn (£740bn) in annual cross-channel trade from tariffs and quotas.

A deal would end the prospect of the UK and the EU imposing widespread import taxes on each other’s goods from 1 January, when the Brexit transition period ends.

Christmas cheer?

But the pre-Christmas Brexit cheer didn’t extend to all Asian markets.

Chinese markets were mostly flat, as investors absorbed the news that Chinese regulators have announced a monopoly investigation into technology giant Alibaba.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index along with China’s Shenzhen and Shanghai stock markets were all relatively flat in trading.


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