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This was the first week following the announcement of a date for the Brexit referendum since UK Prime Minister David Cameron made his statement on Saturday. With that being the case, the fact that the FTSE 100 has closed out the week on a positive note is all the more impressive.
The mining, oil and gas sectors have been the most impressive performers today but have not grabbed most of the attention. The Royal Bank of Scotland, the majority of which is owned by the UK tax payer, has dropped by almost 8% following the release of its latest full-year figures, incurring a loss of £1.97 billion. This now makes it eight straight years of losses totaling £51 billion. Chancellor George Osborne might have to contend with off-loading the tax payer’s position in Lloyds, but need not worry himself with the same troubles for RBS any time soon.
Sterling has had an awful week, and GBP/USD has fallen back below $1.3900 during Friday’s trading session, more than 500 pips or 3.6% lower than last Fridays close. With almost four more months of Brexit worries to handle, the short term picture for sterling does not look good, but the panic selling seen on Monday and Tuesday has given way to a more measured pessimism.
The latest G20 meeting is taking place in Shanghai, and the city has low expectation levels that any meaningful agreements will be reached. German Finance minister Wolfgang Schauble has already dampened optimism with his confirmation that Germany does not feel the environment is right for further central bank stimulus.
This could easily turn into a meeting of talking heads all with their own agendas and a captive audience of eager journalists ready to report.
Next week will offer even more Brexit talk and a raft of PMI data releases but will that be enough to end the markets upward trajectory?
Find out what's coming up next week here.