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  • The Pound Is Only Heading in One Direction

    (Bloomberg) -- Want the lowdown on European markets? In your inbox before the open, every day. Sign up here.The pound is sprinting toward the end of 2019 as the world’s best-performing major currency, yet there are still plenty of hurdles to continue the rally next year.After a make-or-break week for markets with the U.K. election and the threat of more trade tariffs looming, people in the City of London were heard cheering in the early hours of Friday morning after Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s self-styled “glorious” victory and a phase-one deal between the U.S. and China. That reduces two of the big risks for investors, though Johnson will still have to negotiate his own Brexit trade agreement with the European Union.“In the short run, globally, it’s like everything that could go right went right -- no one could have expected better holiday-season developments,” said Marc Chandler, chief market strategist at Bannockburn Global Forex. “People were Brexit fatigued and so happy to get it over with.”The pound, which has been dragged down by Brexit risk, surged the most since 2017 after the election result, yet had halved its gains to trade above $1.33 by the end of London trading on Friday. To meet the most bullish forecasts for a further leg-up to $1.40 or above from the likes of Morgan Stanley and HSBC Holdings Plc, investors will probably need to see improving economic data and progress in talks with Brussels.Johnson’s emphatic victory puts the U.K. on course to leave the EU next month, after pro-Brexit voters in Labour’s former heartlands swung behind his party. He now has a deadline of December 2020 to agree a future trading relationship with the EU, and traders will start to price in that reality, Chandler said. Many analysts think such a deadline is overoptimistic and will be subject to extensions, continuing some of the uncertainty that has weighed on U.K. assets.Traders will also be looking out for the post-election view from a new governor due at the Bank of England, which next meets on Thursday. Policy makers led by current Governor Mark Carney are expected to hold rates steady, though in the wake of the election results, money markets pared the probability for an interest-rate cut by August to 40% from 50% beforehand.Dividing AnalystsThat came as growth is expected to get a lift from pent-up investment demand and with the government having promised to end a decade of austerity and open up the spending taps. In options markets, bets on swings in the currency have slid, yet demand for put contracts to sell the pound still outweigh those for calls both in the short and longer term, showing investors are hedging their positions.“The question remains how it all plays out from here,” said Axel Merk, President and Chief Investment Officer of Merk Investments.The outlook has divided analysts, even within the same bank. While currency strategists at London-based HSBC see this as only the beginning of a rally for the pound on an improved economic outlook, its bond analysts are markedly more downbeat, predicting the BOE will have to lower interest rates by May as the economy slows.For Alessio de Longis, a New York-based senior portfolio manager at Invesco Investment Solutions that oversees $1.2 trillion in assets, some further downward movement in the pound is to be expected given the sharp move higher. The currency has gained more than 3% against the dollar this month and more than 4.5% this year, putting it at the top of the pile for major world currencies.Yet de Longis expects that any pound depreciation will prove just a small blip within a multi-year trend higher for the currency, which should lift it annually on average by about 7% to 8%. Capital inflows to the U.K and its assets, a pickup in global growth and sterling’s current 20% undervaluation versus the dollar are key reasons for his views. The currency was around $1.50 before the 2016 Brexit referendum.“Pound strength will continue fundamentally for years to come,” said de Longis. “Capital inflows coming back to the U.K. now will support the pound. And it will benefit from a slowly changing tide in favor of non-U.S. assets.”\--With assistance from Anooja Debnath.To contact the reporter on this story: Liz Capo McCormick in london at emccormick7@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Paul Dobson at, Neil Chatterjee, Anil VarmaFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Melania Trump Issued a Statement About Donald Trump Mocking Greta Thunberg

    Melania Trump issued a statement after people called on her Be Best initiative following Donald Trump's tweet about Greta Thunberg.

  • Iran Demands $6 Billion Oil Payment From South Korea: Chosun

    (Bloomberg) -- Iran’s Foreign Ministry called in the South Korean ambassador last month to demand payment of 7 trillion won ($6 billion) for oil it sold to the Asian country, Chosun Ilbo reported, citing officials it didn’t identify.Iran expressed “strong regret” over Seoul’s failure to complete the payment, which has been deposited at two South Korean banks without being transferred to Iran’s central bank for years due to U.S. sanctions against the Middle Eastern country, the newspaper said. It added that other Iranian authorities including the central bank also complained.South Korea sent a delegation to the Middle East late last month and explained that the country will cooperate with the U.S. to successfully complete transfer of the payment, it added.To contact the reporter on this story: Kanga Kong in Seoul at kkong50@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at, Sara Marley, Siraj DatooFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Kim Kardashian Had Five Operations After Saint West’s Birth, Says Doctors Refused to Inseminate Her

    After having health complications following her first two pregnancies, Kim opted to have her third and fourth child via surrogates.

  • Battle against Brexit has not ended and Johnson’s plans could still ‘implode’, says Ed Davey

    The battle against Brexit has not ended with Boris Johnson’s emphatic general election victory, Liberal Democrat interim co-leader Sir Ed Davey has said.While accepting that the prime minister now has the votes in the Commons to get his withdrawal agreement through by 31 January, Sir Ed insisted that this will not mean Brexit is “done”.

  • Strictly Speaking - James and Ola Jordan: It was an exceptional final, Karim couldn't have done more and Kelvin deserved to win

    James and Ola Jordan have been spending all of their time performing in Jack and the Beanstalk at the moment, and opened up about the panto! James said: "We're getting great reviews! It's quite tiring, I can't imagine how Ola feels but it's good fun at the same time!" Ola added: "I'm doing well! Everything's going fine so it's all good." Of course, the couple are also expecting their first child together in 2020, and revealed that they have already discussed baby names, with Ola explaining: "We've got a few, we've got an idea but it's still really hard to go, 'Right, that's the name.'" James joked: "It makes you realise how many people you don't particularly like! Like, 'You can't call them that, I used to hate that person at school!'" Despite their busy schedule, there was no way the pair were going to miss the Strictly Come Dancing final! Find out what they had to say about it here...James: I thought it was a really nice final. A good mix of traditional with Anton, and then you had the more contemporary with Karim, and then Kelvin was the entertainer! It was a really good mix in the final. The competition was a lot closer than I expected, as in, I thought Kelvin would walk away with it. I know he did public vote-wise and I understand why he won, but I felt that everyone did a fantastic job in the final. Ola: I thought Karim was amazing. I really loved his show dance and I thought his Jive was exceptional. They were both really amazing, I really loved it. James: I'm still not keen on contemporary though. For me, Strictly is supposed to be Ballroom and Latin, so you've done Ballroom and Latin the whole series, and then you do contemporary. Did I like it? Yes I enjoyed it. But a show dance, in our world, is full of lifts and tricks and mixes of different styles of dance, the show dances still haven't blown me away. The final overall I thought was exceptional, I knew Kelvin was going to win! I thought Karim couldn't have done anything more, as the judges said. He danced his heart out, as did Emma. I thought Emma and Anton were much better than I expected them to be. Their show dance was really enjoyable. Ola: To be honest with you, any of them winning would have been right in some respect. A lot of people wanted Anton and Emma to win, and a lot of people wanted Karim to win. Any of them would have been good. READ: Strictly star Oti Mabuse had very special family member waiting for her after winning the showJames: I'm pleased that Kelvin won. I just feel that it's not just about who is the best dancer, if it was just about that you could have just said in week one, 'Karim has won.' It's an entertainment show, it's not a proper competition because otherwise we'd have proper judges, wouldn't we? [Laughs]. Ola: They did such a good job for saying there is so much pressure during the final. James: Massive pressure. I know that they have done two of the routines before, so that helps a lot because you're going back and remembering the routines, but you still need to learn the show dance. To be honest, I would say the semi-final is probably more difficult than the final. Because in the semi-final you need to learn two new dances. But it is massive pressure that you have three dances, you have a chance at winning, you just don't want to make any big mistakes and that's all you can do. They all went out there and I believe they all did the best they possibly could, there were no major mistakes, I thought it was a brilliant final. And then it's down to the public, the public made their decision and I feel like it was the right decision. It was a really good to watch. Ola: Yes I agree. Kelvin was brilliant, so for me he was still a winner but Karim has a special place in my heart, he was so amazing. There were negative comments about him, like people weren't warming to him. It's not about warming to someone, it's about liking the dances, but people vote for who they want to vote for. James: Yeah, I thought he seemed like a lovely young man and he was an exceptional dancer. Every year Strictly have people who are trained dancers and there were a lot of people on the show this year who were trained dancers, but because he was the most talented he got the most flack, which is a little bit unfair I suppose. Because he was talented, that was his downfall. His talent was what made him not win the show. I remember Emma said back in 2009 something like, 'Oh I wouldn't be able to do Strictly because it would be an unfair advantage,' because she's had dance training, loads of them have. That's why I was a big supporter of Chris Ramsey. Chris is what Strictly is about. I would have liked to have seen Chris in the final. Ola: But he wasn't good enough to have been in the final! Those three were better off being in the final than Chris. James: Yeah, true. You're right Ola, you're right. Ola: I'm always right! [Laughs]. And what did you think of the judges' scores? People on Twitter weren't happy that Anton and Emma didn't get 40. READ: Take a peek inside Strictly winner Kelvin Fletcher's family homeJames: I do think Anton and Emma deserved four tens you know. Their Charleston, for me, deserved four tens. Craig said, 'You walked down the steps at different times,' for heavens sake mate, it's the final! You have no say in the result! It's the public, you have no say! They deserved tens. I couldn't stop watching Anton, he was so good. I'm going to put this out there: Anton is as good now as he was the first year of Strictly. I don't know what he's eating, but he's like the bionic man! Ola: He's a machine that man, he did so well in the final. James: If it's his last year as a dancer he needs to be given a presenting role, or put on the judging panel, he needs to be promoted because people love him. Ola: And I hope if it is his last year, it's his decision. James: I believe if he wants to come back, he has more right than anybody on that show because he was there from day one. I think he did a better job this year than he has done any other year. As for Oti, I think she's amazing, but then again it does depend on which celebrity dance partner you get. If you keep getting people who can't dance, people are going to say, 'Oh they're not very good,' but if you get brilliant people like Kelvin, you're going to look good aren't you? It's not difficult to make someone like Kelvin look great. Not taking anything away from Oti at all, she did a fantastic job, but if you get someone with potential, dance training and the drive and determination, they're going to do well. All the pros are brilliant on that show, it just depends on who you get. She was lucky to get Kelvin after Jamie dropped out. Speaking of, I think it would be nice if Jamie could do it next season. It's such a shame the way that he had to leave through injury. It's not like he's had a massive advantage, it would be nice to see him back. It's good to see how supportive he was at Kelvin as well. He seems like a nice young man to be honest so I think he'd be good for the show next year. By the way, can I just say that it's been ten years since Ola won it this year! Ola: It's been ten years, I can't believe it! I still speak to Chris all the time, I love that man, the whole thing is just a great memory. Ten years ago! I get messages like, 'Oh my God, my daughter loved you when she was four and now she's 14.' James: You were young and fit!Ola: I was young and fit and it was amazing! [Laughs]. Yeah I have great memories from that time, it was the best. James: So now it's all over, what will we be watching next Ola? Ola: Oh, Love Island's coming back! We can be just two old people sitting back watching Love Island! But will Caroline be back? James: I don't know! I love Caroline. Is she going to get sacked for that? Presenters have done worse than that and they're still on TV! But if she is gone they should replace her with someone who has been in a relationship for more than six months! Oh! I've been in a relationship for 20 years! I could do it very easily!Ola: I could go there with my big stomach if they want me!

  • Isla Fisher Posts Shirtless Clip of Sacha Baron Cohen: ‘He’s Worked So Hard Transforming’

    Isla Fisher Shares Video of Sacha Baron Cohen's Workout