European Market Open: Higher start ahead of Brexit vote

UK politicians are set to vote on the Brexit deal later today, while the country has also become the first to approve the AstraZeneca-Oxford university vaccine.

Brexit 7

FTSE 100 to open higher

The FTSE 100 is set to open 0.3% higher at 6610.5 after ending at 6589.9 yesterday. The index briefly touched its highest level since March during yesterday’s session before giving back most of those gains to end the day slightly higher.

European indices set for positive start

The Euro STOXX Index is called to open 0.2% higher at 3576.5 from 3568.7 at the end of play on Tuesday.

France’s CAC 40 is called to open 0.3% higher at 5607.0 from 5588.0 at the last close.

Germany’s DAX is set to open 0.2% higher at 13755.5 from 13730.4. The index reached its highest level since early February in yesterday’s session before falling back to the end the day higher.

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UK MPs to vote on Brexit deal

Parliament is being recalled today to allow MPs to vote on the Brexit deal, formally named the EU (future relationship) Bill. Politicians have been given little time to evaluate the deal that was announced late on December 24, but it is widely expected to be approved thanks to the Conservative government’s large majority and the opposition Labour party’s support.

UK prime minister Boris Johnson is expected to say in a speech today ahead of the vote that the deal allows the country to take control of its laws but also to maintain a close friendship with the bloc.

On the other side of the Channel, EU ambassadors have already provisionally approved the deal and will formally ratify it sometime in January.

UK prepares for tougher coronavirus restrictions

The UK government will conduct its latest review of the tiered restrictions in place today to stop the spread of coronavirus. UK cases have climbed to new record highs and there are now more people being treated for the virus in hospital than ever before.

Swathes of the country were placed into the strictest tier 4 restrictions on December 26 and more places are expected to be placed under the strictest rules within the next few days. Some reports suggest new, harsher restrictions could be introduced in the worst-hit areas. Health secretary Matt Hancock is due to speak to the House of Commons about the findings of the review this afternoon.

UK approves AstraZeneca-Oxford university vaccine

The UK medicines regulator this morning approved the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford university. It is the second vaccine to be approved by the UK after the Pfizer-BioNTech was given the green light earlier this year.

The vaccine is expected to offer major advantages due to its low cost and because it can be stored and transported easier than the Pfizer-BioNTech one, which needs to be stored at very low temperatures. The UK has bought 100 million doses of the vaccine and the jab should start to be rolled-out early in 2021.

Forex: EUR/USD hits 8-month high

GBP/USD traded at 1.35432 this morning, up 0.3% from 1.35033 at the end of play yesterday.

EUR/USD was also up 0.3% at 1.22829 – its highest level since April - from 1.22414 at the last close.

Meanwhile, EUR/GBP traded broadly flat at 0.90694 from 0.90717.

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Commodities: Oil and gold both rise

Brent traded at $51.42 in early morning trade, up from $51.17 at yesterday’s close, while WTI followed higher to $48.26 from $48.12.

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Gold traded at $1881 this morning from $1878 yesterday.

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Market-moving events in the economic calendar

Today’s economic calendar sees the KOF Swiss leading indicator at 0800 GMT and Swiss ZEW survey at 0900 GMT. This afternoon sees the US Chicago PMI at 1445 GMT and pending home sales at 1500 GMT.

You can view all the scheduled events for today using our economic calendar, and keep up to date with the latest market news and analysis here.

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