Here's what you need to know ahead of the UK election later this week

Author: Justin Low | Category: News

The UK general election is taking place on Thursday, 12 December

This is going to be the key risk event for the pound this week, so expect all other aspects affecting the currency to be displaced by election sentiment over the next few days.

Here are some of the stuff you need to know as we look get closer to polling day.

What time does voting begin and what time does it end?

Polling will begin at 0700 GMT and will run through to 2200 GMT.

When will we know the results?

After polling closes at 2200 GMT, the votes will be counted via two stages but typically, you can expect the counting process to end around 0200 GMT. Hence, the results will start trickling in after that all through to the next morning.

From 0300 GMT onwards, the results should come in much quicker and we'll have a better idea of how things are shaping up. Barring any major complications, we should roughly know the winner/outcome of the election in the early hours of the morning already.

Watch out for exit polls

Before we even get the confirmed result, expect markets to start moving on what the exit polls are saying. This should typically come right after polling is done and even if the results may be surprising, you can't really discount them as they affect sentiment.

Early results should then arrive around 2330 GMT to 0100 GMT but we will have to wait on more key seats to declare before knowing how the tide is flowing.

The big issue for markets here is that the exit polls and early results are being reported during hours of low liquidity - so just be wary of that.

The little things add up

One of the early signs to watch out for in this election will be 'red wall' (strong Labour presence) in the north and the Midlands.

Labour is still expected to hold on to the seats here but Corbyn's waning popularity may be a sign of things to come and could suggest how strong the Tory wave may be in the bigger picture of things.

If we do see the Tories start making some headway in these areas and threaten to breach the 'red wall', it could be suggestive of a more comfortable victory for Boris Johnson as we look towards the results elsewhere.

What is priced in for the pound and how it could react?

As things stand with cable above 1.30, I reckon pound traders are holding out hope for a Conservative majority. However, to say that it is fully priced in would be inaccurate as you also have to factor in how this affects Brexit sentiment.

In short, a Conservative majority should help facilitate a smoother process in the lead up to 31 January 2020 in getting a deal across the finish line.

As such, the pound should have more legs to gain upon such a result - although what comes after that may be a bit more questionable. I reckon somewhere around the region of 1.34 to 1.35 for cable is quite manageable in this case.

On the flip side, if we go back to a hung parliament, it's basically saying that we have wasted almost two months of doing nothing in this whole Brexit debacle.

As such, the pound should easily take a dive back under 1.30 against the dollar with 1.25 to 1.27 levels the potential first targets - before possibly getting towards 1.20 as no-deal Brexit fears start creeping into the picture again.

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