Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

The rand gained about 1.5% or 30c against the pound on Tuesday afternoon, gaining sharply after reports suggested that eurosceptic MPs may still rejected Brexit terms during a vote later.

British MPs are expected to vote on UK Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit agreement at about 10pm SA time. Sentiment has picked up earlier on news that the EU had made concessions on issues of the Irish border — giving the UK a legal exit from the EU's custom union.

On Tuesday afternoon Bloomberg reported that UK attorney-general Geoffrey Cox as saying that the legal risk of the Irish backstop was unchanged. This gives pro-Brexit MPs an excuse to reject the deal in a vote later on Tuesday.

Whether May is able to convince the eurosceptic wing of her party that these are genuinely meaningful changes, rather than simply cosmetic add-ons that do not really change the terms of the deal, remains to be seen, said BK Asset Management MD Boris Schlossberg.

At 2pm the rand was 1.49% stronger against the pound at R18.6239/£. It earlier reached a low of R19.056/£. The local currency was 0.32% firmer to the dollar at R14.2892/$ and 0.27% up against the euro at R16.0823/€. The euro was flat at $1.1255.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za