30/03/2017 - Article 50 Process Underway

GBP

As expected, Britain's EU ambassador formally triggered the two year countdown to the UK's exit by handing over a letter in Brussels. The Pound remained relatively stable on the news and throughout yesterday's trading session. In a statement in the Commons, the Prime Minister Theresa May said that the UK has a "unique opportunity to shape a brighter future". She added: "The Article 50 process is now under way and in accordance with the wishes of the British people the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union."

She said Britain would now make it's own decisions and it's own laws, and "take control of the things that matter most to us - we are going to take this opportunity to build a stronger, fairer Britain, a country that our children and grandchildren are proud to call home".

In the six page letter from Theresa May; Mrs May warns that failure to reach a trade deal within the two-year time limit could "weaken" cooperation in the fight against crime and terrorism - prompting a stern response from Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's chief Brexit negotiator. He said he would not accept any attempt to "bargain" between trade and security, adding: "I think the security of our citizens is far too important to start a trade off from one for the other."

USD

If Boston Federal Reserve President Eric Rosengren gets his way, the central bank will be a lot more aggressive this year with regard to raising interest rates.

In a speech yesterday, Rosengren said he believes four rate hikes this year are appropriate, with the Federal Open Market Committee raising its short-term target rate a quarter point "at every other" meeting this year.

The committee already has one increase under its belt, approved at the March meeting. Officials then indicated that two more hikes probably will be appropriate in 2017.

Market participants currently are not expecting the Fed to be as hawkish as Rosengren recommends. Fed funds futures indicate the next rate hike to come in July, with only a 51 percent chance of another move by December.

EUR

The euro fell to its lowest level in eight days against the dollar on Wednesday, after a Reuters report that European Central Bank policymakers are wary of making any new change to their policy message in April.

Small tweaks at the ECB's meeting earlier this month appear to have upset investors, and raised the spectre of a surge in borrowing costs for the bloc's indebted periphery.

Key Announcements 

13.30 – USD : Final GDP QoQ; Forecast at 2.0% against a previous of 1.9%

13.30 – USD : Unemployment Claims; Forecast at 244k against a previous of 261k