The stricken pound appeared to be tentatively returning to health this week after Donald Trump's surprise victory in the U.S. Presidential race promised to soften the blow of a potential "hard" Brexit.
Sterling had already risen from multi-year lows following a U.K. court ruling Nov. 3 that the decision to begin formal exit talks with the EU needs lawmakers' approval. The verdict, which the government said it would appeal, raised hopes Brexit could yet be avoided, or watered down. But the prospect of a Brexit-supporting President at the White House sparked optimism that whatever happens, things may not be so bad for the U.K.
The pound recently changed hands at $1.2579. That was up 0.2% on the day and 0.6% on the week. The pound had fallen to a 31-year low of $1.1925 in early October.
Investors, and doubtless British politicians too, hope that under Trump's Presidency, Britain won't face the delays establishing alternative trade ties with the U.S. that President Obama had threatened before the Brexit vote. Political support from the Trump administration when Prime Minister Theresa May begins exit talks with EU peers next year would also help the cause, and therefore the pound.
Trump famously rebuked Obama's assertion that Britain would be at the "back of the queue" in trade talks. He also said following the Brexit vote in June that a Trump Administration would "strengthen our ties with a free and independent Britain, deepening our bonds in commerce, culture and mutual defense."
So if the recent court ruling does not prevent or substantially dilute the end result of the U.K. government's push for a full-on Brexit, Trump's Presidency might help to take some of the sting out of it. The U.K. is insured, and re-insured.
The pound was recently up by 3.2% against both the euro and 3.1% against the Swiss franc on the week, rtrading at €1.1590 and Sfr1.2429, respectively. It gained 4.3% against the Japanese yen on the week, and was recently at ¥134.10.