Currency-hedged United Kingdom exchange traded funds continued to push toward new heights, with Britain’s benchmark FTSE 100 also reaching a new record, after Prime Minister Theresa May spooked currency traders and sent the pound sterling reeling.
The CurrencyShares British Pound Sterling Trust (NYSEArca: FXB) fell 1.0% as the British pound depreciated to $1.2162 on Monday. The weaker pound also dragged on the non-hedged iShares MSCI United Kingdom ETF (NYSEArca: EWU), which declined 0.8%.
Meanwhile, currency-hedged U.K. ETFs that provided a purer play on the underlying market have more closely followed the U.K. market’s recent push toward record highs. On Monday, the iShares Currency Hedged MSCI United Kingdom ETF (NYSEArca: HEWU) gained 0.2%, WisdomTree United Kingdom Hedged Equity Fund (NasdaqGM: DXPS) rose 0.4% and Deutsche X-Trackers MSCI United Kingdom Hedged Equity ETF (NYSEArca: DBUK) was flat.
Britain’s blue-chip index, the FTSE 100, reached a new record high of 7,2463.76 points Monday before settling at 7,237.77 points, its tenth straight daily session of gains, Reuters reports.
“The FTSE is still currency-led, with Brexit uncertainty over the weekend grinding it higher,” Mark Ward, head of execution trading at Sanlam Securities UK, told Reuters. “I don’t think these markets will go lower anytime soon.”
Large export-oriented British companies rejoiced as the pound weakened against foreign currencies and a ten-week low against the dollar, making their products more competitive in international waters.
Dragging on the pound, May reignited fears of a so-called hard Brexit after her comments over the weekend. May spoke at the Conservative Party conference and Sunday’s traditional new-year television interview where she boosted speculation the U.K. is likely to pursue an exit from the European Union that prioritized immigration controls.
“It looks almost certainly now like a hard Brexit, and the market doesn’t like it,” Erik Nielsen, global chief economist at UniCredit SpA in London, told Bloomberg. “It’s a political crisis in the brewing here, for sure.”
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