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Brexit week again

Win-win

The prime minister got her selfie stick out at the weekend for her debut as a YouTuber. She calmly explained that the choice for "us" is between leaving the EU with a deal or not leaving at all. Investors quite liked the sound of that and sterling has moved higher this morning.

Investors had not been so enthusiastic on Friday. The House of Lords was dragging its feet on approval of the bill that would require the government to seek a further extension rather than leave the EU without a deal. Investors had not exactly been reassured when the leader of the house said on TV yesterday that leaving with no deal would be "not nearly as grim" as many believe. But the choice between a deal that parliament could agree and no Brexit, well, that looked like a bearable risk, especially if the deal were to be put to a confirmatory public vote.

Sterling is still lower this morning than at Friday's opening, down by an average of 0.2%, but it is ahead of the antipodean dollars. Its losses to the euro and US dollar are less than a third of a cent and it is 0.3% firmer on the week against the other major currencies.

North American jobs

Friday's US employment report satisfied, rather than energised investors. Payrolls picked up the pace again in March after stuttering in February but wages growth slowed. The potentially negative effect of Canadian jobs data that came out at the same time was offset by a rising oil price.

US nonfarm payrolls increased by 196k in March, beating forecast, and upward revisions to previous months meant a net 30k more workers than analysts had predicted. Hourly earnings grew less quickly than expected, up by 0.1% on the month and 3.2% higher on the year. On average, the US dollar is unchanged on the day against the other majors.

Instead of creating the predicted thousand new jobs the Canadian economy lost 7.2k of them in March. Wages were up by an annual 2.32%. The numbers did not compare well with those from the States. However, oil prices moved higher - partly in response to the US payrolls figure - with WTI crude rising 2%. That protected the Loonie, which was able to edge ahead of sterling.

Extend and pretend

Away from the UK the highlights of this week will be the European Central Bank's policy statement and the Federal Open Market Committee minutes on Wednesday. Britain's output figures will appear on the same day. And two days later, of course, Britain is supposed to leave the EU.

There is every sign that Britain will not leave the EU on Friday. It is conceivable, but unlikely that Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn come to an agreement in time for it to have received Commons sign-off by then.

The question, then, is how long the postponement will be. Investors are assuming it will be a long one, which would mean taking part in the European election next month. It would also mean extending the period of uncertainty that has sent business optimism to its "lowest point since 2012".

GBP: Faces week of uncertainty

GBP: Faces week of uncertainty

USD: Pace of jobs growth recovers

USD: Pace of jobs growth recovers

CAD: Jobs data balanced by oil prices

CAD: Jobs data balanced by oil prices

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