Pound ETF Pulls Back as Sterling Slips to 31-Year Low

The British pound sterling exchange traded fund retreated to a new low, with the currency declining to its lowest against the U.S. dollar in 31 years, after U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May sets Brexit start date.

The CurrencyShares British Pound Sterling Trust (NYSEArca: FXB) fell 0.8% as the pound depreciated 0.9% against the U.S. dollar to $1.2861. The GBP dropped as low as $1.2815 earlier, nearing the $1.2796 low set in 1985.

The pound weakened in after the U.K. Prime Minister told the Conservative party conference that Britain would trigger Article 50 – the official legal notification that would begin the exit negotiations with the European Union – “no later than the end of March,” the Financial Times reports. The U.K. would then be expected to leave the E.U. by 2019.

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“The decline in sterling is another reminder that the market doesn’t like the uncertainty that Brexit is bringing, that the negotiations will be hard and that the probability of a hard Brexit has increased,” Charles St Arnaud, Nomura FX strategist, told the Financial Times.

The GBP also remain depressed after U.K. Chancellor Philip Hammond told the conference to expect Brexit-induced volatility in the U.K. economy.