Theresa May's Brexit Deal Defeat, Narrow Survival, Fail to Rattle Investors

January 16, 2019

By Brian Henry

Even as British Prime Minister Theresa May suffered an embarrassing defeat as her Brexit vote was voted down in Parliament, and then only narrowly survived a no-confidence vote, investors remained relatively unrattled.

According to Chris Demetriou, the U.S. CEO at Aberdeen Standard Investments, the mild response to the vote was not a surprise.

"There are two elements to it," he told Cheddar Wednesday.

"The vote [Tuesday] and the no confidence vote [Wednesday] weren't really a surprise to anybody. It's long been speculated Theresa May didn't have the votes to carry the deal through Parliament."

Demetriou said that the decision by British lawmakers to reject the Brexit deal by such a historic margin ー 432 to 202 ーearlier this week actually has investors feeling confident.

"The resounding defeat, the size of the defeat, really suggests that a tweak to the deal probably isn't going to help get it through either. I think that, perhaps, is giving investors confidence that the can will be kicked down the road or potentially even a more formal withdrawal of Article 15."

"Investors want as a little change as possible in the current arrangement," he added.

Demetriou says productive trade talks between the U.S. and China as well as the Federal Reserve displaying patience on future rate hikes have led to less market volatility.

"A lot of the uncertainty we saw in the back end of the year, the escalation of trade discussions, perhaps concern around fed policy coming into 2019 ー a lot of that has reversed in the beginning of January."

But will the relative market peace last?

"There's a lot of positive news or certainly constructive news out there to offset some of the uncertainty that exists," Demetriou said.

"We do expect continued uncertainty, which breeds volatility in the markets and that will continue throughout the year."

For full interview click here.