Picture: RUSSELL ROBERTS
Picture: RUSSELL ROBERTS

The rand was mixed on Wednesday afternoon, faring slightly worse against the pound, despite the uncertainty around Brexit.

The chances of political and market turmoil have escalated after UK Prime Minister Theresa May was handed a crushing defeat on Tuesday. British legislators rejected her draft Brexit agreement, setting the stage for an extension, another referendum, or the UK exiting the EU without a deal.

The pound has been remarkably stable, with the market appearing to price in that MPs will reject a vote later on Wednesday on leaving the EU without a deal, said BK Asset Management MD Boris Schlossberg. “But given that conventional wisdom has been wrong from the start on the issue of Brexit, it’s not out of the realm of possibility for markets to be jolted again,” he said.

At 2pm,  the rand was 0.37% firmer at R14.3093/$ and 0.25% up at R16.1732/€. It was 0.21% weaker at R18.8216/£. The euro was 0.13% firmer at $1.1303.

Should a no-deal Brexit be rejected, MPs are also set to vote on Thursday to request an extension of the March 29 deadline, but even if this passes, it needs the unanimous consent of all 27 member governments of the EU.

Any extension beyond May 2019, however, would require the UK to participate in the European parliamentary elections in May, which could delay Brexit even further.

Local factors are taking a back seat, although analysts expect a cautious stance by traders ahead of a review of SA’s credit status by Moody’s Investors Service at the end of March.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za