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13 August 2018, 08:58 | Hattie Nash
Traders are worried that UK and EU negotiators will fail to agree transition terms before Brexit in March Dan Kitwood Getty Images
Recent gains by the euro and the dollar have also hurt the pound.
Sterling and United Kingdom government bonds will fall further in the run-up to Brexit, even after the pound slumped this week to its lowest in nearly a year, prominent Brexit-supporting British hedge fund manager Crispin Odey said on Thursday.
Connor Campbell, financial analyst at SpreadEx, said: "The fears of a no-deal Brexit have really gathered steam in the last few sessions, a snowball effect stemming from Mark Carney and Liam Fox's warnings either side of the weekend".
Part of the hedging trade was being driven by companies.
"Some are thinking in the market that the Bank of England raised rates in order to give them ammunition to cut them in the face of a no-deal", said Neil Jones, a foreign exchange expert at Mizuho Bank. "The next move could be a cut rather than another hike".
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Risk reversals - used commonly to hedge against expected currency moves - in sterling/dollar fell to their lowest since early March 2017.
While there appeared to be no notable trigger to yesterday's pound sell-off, analysts suggest it is likely a result of growing anxiety that time is running for the United Kingdom to avoid a "no-deal" Brexit.
"We remain bearish on the pound in the short term until the Brexit mess is out the way and look for the currency to enter a US$1.27-1.28 range before the leaders' summit in September", said Nomura strategist Jordan Rochester. That indicates a sharp rise in demand for sterling "puts", or options to sell the currency. The pound has lost more than 10 percent since April and is down nearly 15 percent since the Brexit Referendum in June 2016.
Traders are also preparing for Friday's reading of second-quarter British economic growth numbers, which might offer some relief.
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