Brexit and Virus Hurt Pound While Stimulus Progress Dents Yen

Concerns about Brexit negotiations and the U.K.’s worsening coronavirus situation weighed on the pound, while progress on U.S. fiscal stimulus dented appetite for haven currencies like the Japanese yen and Swiss franc.

The British pound fell as markets awaited news on the outcome of trade talks between Britain and the European Union and Prime Minister Boris Johnson detailed newrestrictions for London and southeast England on Saturday. People familiar with both sides’ positions said the EU-U.K. talks are unlikely to wrap up on Sunday, but should do so before Christmas.

In the U.S., Congressional negotiators reached a compromise that may clear the way for a finalagreement on a roughly $900 billion plan to help the U.S. economy weather the coronavirus pandemic, with a vote potentially taking place Sunday in Washington. Virus concerns were also front and center inAustralia, with a renewed outbreak in Sydney helping weigh on the local currency.

  • The pound dropped as much as 0.8% to a nearly one-week low of $1.3412, with selling accelerating below the Dec. 16 low of $1.3435, as traders executed sell-stops on behalf of funds, according to a trader familiar with the matter who declined to be identified
  • The dollar was up as much as 0.2% to 103.50 yen
  • The greenback rose 0.3% against the franc to as high as 0.8862 per dollar
  • The euro rose against the pound, but was lower versus the U.S. currency
  • The Aussie slipped as much as 0.5% to 75.88 U.S. cents

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