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(Bloomberg) -- Analysts expecting the pound to rally more than 5 percent on a market-friendly Brexit resolution may be too optimistic.
Some see the pound rising toward $1.40 by the end of June on anticipation that the U.K. will opt for a softer Brexit, or even cancel it. While Parliament taking greater control of the process has boosted the chance of a more favorable outcome, these calls may prove overconfident as current pricing seems to mainly factor in positive scenarios and overlooks potentially negative factors.
A decisive Brexit development could prompt a substantial market reaction, but the follow through after the initial knee-jerk move may be shallow unless a disorderly exit takes place. The latter would take the market into uncharted territory and sterling could enter free-fall mode. Under any other case, investors will eventually take a step back and examine the reasons why they should keep chasing the price action higher.
Despite a drop of more than 1 percent since Tuesday, the pound remains the best performer among Group-of-10 currencies this year. While this suggests that the market isn’t as pessimistic on sterling as it was during the fourth quarter last year, it remains structurally short, both in the cash and options markets, according to two traders in Europe, who asked not to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak publicly.
The argument that positioning would result in a significant short squeeze in pound-dollar overlooks current market dynamics, the political repercussions that may follow in Britain, the fact that short-term investors may be willing to fade a rally as they have a more balanced exposure, and that positioning partly has more to do with the dollar’s prospects.
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