Forex – Pound Steadies as MPs Vote For Brexit Delay; Yen Up after BoJ Decision

© Reuters. – The British pound edged up on Friday in Asia after lawmakers approved a motion setting out the option to ask the European Union (EU) for a short delay if parliament can agree on a Brexit deal by March 20, or a longer delay if no deal can be agreed in time.

The pound was mostly steady after the motion was passed late on Thursday. The pair last traded at 1.3246 by 11:12 PM ET (03:12 GMT) on Friday, up 0.05%.

Earlier this week, British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal suffered a second defeat in Parliament. A new vote on her twice-rejected deal is likely next week, according to various media reports.

Lawmakers must now decide whether to back a deal they feel does not offer a clean break from the EU, or reject it and accept that Brexit could be watered down or even thwarted by a long delay.

Meanwhile, the pair edged down 0.1% to 111.62 following the Bank of Japan (BoJ)’s decision to keep its short-term interest rate target at minus 0.1% as expected. The central bank maintained the 10-year JGB yield target around 0%, also in line with expectation.

The BoJ tweaked its assessment of the Japanese economy, citing growing risks from the slowdown in the external sector.

The pair traded near flat at 6.7184. U.S.-China trade talks returned to focus after U.S. President Donald Trump said during a St. Patrick’s Day reception on Thursday that the U.S. will probably know in the next three or four weeks whether a trade deal with China is possible.

“If that one gets done, it will be something that people will be talking about for a long time,” Trump said, noting that China has been “very responsible.”

Citing three sources briefed on the discussion, CNBC reported that China is planning a state visit by President Xi Jinping and that Beijing wants to have all the details of the trade deal fully ironed out before its leader sits down with Trump.

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