The British pound has dropped against the US dollar after the latest YouGov poll predicted 20 fewer seats for the Conservatives.
As polls open on Thursday morning, it is anyone’s guess what the results of the general election will be as the Conservatives could be winning with a majority or facing the risk of a hung parliament.
After the release on Tuesday night of the YouGov MRP poll, a detailed constituency-by-constituency poll which predicted a reduced majority for Boris Johnson, the election is expected to be a very close-fought one.
As the Prime Minister himself stated, “This is a very close-fought election, and we need every vote. The only mathematical alternative to a working majority for a Conservative government is the real, real risk of another hung parliament. That’s another five years of confusion, chaos, dither and delay. We cannot go down that route.”
The prospect of a hung parliament could threaten PM Boris Johnson’s ability to deliver Brexit on time and will continue to put more pressure on the GBP.
The YouGov poll puts the Conservatives on 43% and Labour on 34%, after gaining two points, without ruling out the possibility of a hung parliament. The survey was based on more than 100,000 interviews conducted the last six days. The result shows Johnson’s notional majority being cut from 68 to 28, with his party’s seat count falling to 339 and Labour’s improving to 231.
The YouGov poll used the MRP method (modelling technique called multilevel regression and post-stratification), which bases a result for each constituency by creating a profile for how different demographic groups might vote.
The gains for Labour come from London’s Putney and Chipping Barnet, while the Conservatives’ gains come from Labour in the Midlands and north of England.
Time is limited
According to Reuters, “Sterling’s rally will be limited even if U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson wins a parliamentary majority in the general election and finds a way to pass the withdrawal bill by Jan. 31. That’s because the clock is ticking on a trade agreement in a transition period that runs out at the end of 2020. Any longer-term economic and Brexit uncertainty can increase the chance of a Bank of England rate cut next year, which would weigh on the currency and prop up gilts.”
In the case of a Conservative Majority, the pound will continue to be under pressure due to the threat of a no-deal Brexit and the risk of reaching a trade agreement by next year. The prospect a 2020 rate cut is also real, especially with a hard Brexit and the ensuing weak economic conditions, as Market Live strategists predict.
The possibility of a hung parliament will complicate things even further, spread uncertainty and hurt the pound, while making the passing of Johnson’s deal very difficult.
Another outcome, according to Reuters, is Labour forming a government, requesting a Brexit extension and holding a second referendum, which is seen as the worst-case scenario, with the pound falling significantly.
With the release of the latest GDP figures showing that the economy has stagnated due to Brexit uncertainty, failing to grow during the August-October period, economists have criticised the ongoing Brexit chaos and the global economic slowdown. So, while the elections have temporarily boosted the pound on hopes of a Conservative majority, the long-term economic prospects appear to be grim for the economy.
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