Oh no it doesn't

As you were
On Wednesday morning investors were getting all excited about the prime minister giving parliament a say on Brexit after all. On Wednesday afternoon they came back down to earth with a bump when David Davis told parliament yes, they would get a say, but not a vote.

It was game on again for the sterling bears as the Brexit minister gave the impression that the government is still intent on pursuing what has become known as the "Hard Brexit"; an abrogation of all things EU, including the single market and free access for financial institutions. Their hand was strengthened by a story that the pound's post-referendum decline is pushing up prices not only for imported goods but also for domestically-produced Marmite.

So down it went again. The pound regained its wooden spoon, falling by an average of -0.6% - two thirds of a euro cent - against the other dozen most actively-traded currencies. It lost one US cent, one Swiss cent and rather less than that against most of the rest of the field.

Minutes support dollar
The US dollar was one of the top performers, adding a third of a euro cent and a quarter of a Japanese yen. It was helped on its way by the minutes of last month's Federal Open Market Committee meeting, which appeared to leave a December rate increase on the table.

Although only three of the FOMC's ten members voted to increase interest rates in September, more of them felt they should not wait too long to pull the trigger. "Several members judged that it would be appropriate to increase the target range for the federal funds rate relatively soon…" The semanticists can argue about the exact meanings of "several" and "relatively soon" but investors reckon they mean "more than five" and "before Christmas".

The rand pre-emptively stole the dollar's thunder yesterday afternoon when South Africa's chief prosecutor said finance minister Pravin Gordhan might not necessarily be charged with fraud. A spike took the rand 1.3% higher on the day to regain half the losses it sustained on Tuesday.

Old Lady on the prowl
It is another quiet day for economic data and the most important of them are already done and dusted. To alleviate the monotony of watching sterling fall, five members of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee will be making appearances.

Data already released show Chinese exports shrinking by an annual -10% and German inflation steady at 0.7%. US weekly jobless claims and Canadian house prices come out after lunch and China reports on inflation tonight. 

The Bank of England governor, four deputy governors and the bank's chief operating officer will be taking part in a forum this afternoon in Birmingham and MPC member Kristin Forbes will be speaking at a central bank conference in Warsaw. It is impossible to imagine all seven of them being able to avoid the subject of Britain's withdrawal from the European Union.