Sterling fell across the board this morning as British ministers fanned out across the country to bolster support for the government’s Brexit deal.
With a crunch vote on the agreement due on 11 December, the next few days will see a huge effort to win round wavering MPs.
The air is thick with predictions that Prime Minister Theresa May will be defeated, possibly leading to her resignation and triggering a leadership contest in the Conservative Party. But some see her weakness as a source of strength, in that her own MPs will not want to risk losing office to the opposition Labour Party.
Stock markets trade higher
On the face of it, the FTSE 250’s apparent cheerfulness is puzzling, given the sort of firms listed in the index are those thought most likely to suffer should Britain leave the European Union without any kind of deal as to future trading relationships.
But it is possible that equities across Europe are being buoyed by investor sentiment that is largely unconnected with Brexit. This morning, Frankfurt’s DAX index was 0.89% higher at 10,907.72, while in Paris the Cac 40 shrugged off France’s current domestic turbulence and rose 1.35% to 4,844.81.
In Amsterdam, the AEX rose by 1.44% to 506.09, while in Madrid the IBEX 35 was up 1.12% at 8,862.30.
Over the longer term, the tortuous Brexit negotiations seem to have taken their toll on UK indices. Three months ago, on 7 September, the FTSE 100 stood at 7,277.7002, rising to 7,545.4399 on 27 September.
“Get on with it”
A decline set in that saw it reach its current three-month lows, losing 6.5% of its value since 7 September.
The percentage decline for the FTSE 250 was more severe, perhaps reflecting its member-firms’ vulnerability to a no-deal Brexit. On 7 September it stood at 20,209.6094, since then it has lost about 11% of its value.
Among the Ministers touring the country are the Chancellor Philip Hammond and Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary.
Mrs May said: "We have delivered a deal that honours the vote of the British people…Overwhelmingly, the message I've heard is that people want us to get on with it.
"And that's why it's important that ministers are out speaking with communities across the UK today about how the deal works for them."