The UK’s ambassador to the European Union, Sir Ivan Rogers, unexpectedly resigned yesterday, adding to confusion over Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plans.
Sir Ivan, who was appointed by David Cameron in 2013, was expected to play a key role in the Brexit negotiations due to start in a few months. He was due to remain in his post until November 2017, and has been widely seen as one of the UK’s most experienced EU negotiators.
Last month, May’s office downplayed remarks that had been attributed to Rogers, saying that it might take 10 years to negotiate a free-trade deal with the EU. He privately told ministers that this view was shared by the EU’s other 27 member states.
This news has brought renewed concerns that that the UK may get a worse deal than they would have if he remained part of the team.
In the morning, the UK’s December manufacturing figure was released. This started on a strong footing, hitting a 2 and a half year high, and was fuelled by new orders from both home and abroad. The final Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) in the UK jumped to 56.1 points in December, as compared to a previously revised 53.6 reading. Markets had predicted a drop to 53.0. The boost to competitiveness from the weaker exchange rate would have been the main driver.
US manufacturing activity accelerated in December at the fastest pace in two years, a result of firmer output and the biggest pickup in orders growth seen since August 2009.
The Institute for Supply Management said yesterday that its purchasing managers index increased to 54.7, the fourth straight advance, from 53.2 for November. A reading over 50 indicates expansion in the manufacturing sector, while a reading below 50 suggests contraction.
09:30 - GBP : Construction PMI, expected at 52.6 against a previous of 52.8
19:00 – USD : FOMC Meeting Minutes