Gilt yields hit post-Brexit highs after UK GDP data, sterling drops

LONDON (Reuters) - British gilt yields surged to a post-Brexit peak on Thursday, after data showed the economy had grown faster than expected in the third quarter, reducing the chances of an interest rate cut in the near term.

A pile of one pound coins is seen in a photo illustration shot June 17, 2008. REUTERS/Toby Melville/Illustration/File Photo

The benchmark 10-year gilt yield rose 10 basis points to 1.27 percent GB10YT=TWEB, the highest since the Brexit vote in June, dragging other European government bond yields higher. It did little, however, to lift sterling, which fell against both the dollar and the euro.

British gross domestic product expanded by 0.5 percent in the July-September period, less rapid than the unusually strong growth of 0.7 percent seen in the second quarter but comfortably above a median forecast of 0.3 percent in a Reuters poll of economists.

Compared with the third quarter of last year, growth picked up to 2.3 percent, the strongest pace in more than a year, according to the preliminary figures from the Office for National Statistics. ECONGB

The data, which did not include details of consumer spending or capital investments, gave investors the first broad insight into whether Brexit-inspired uncertainty was affecting the economy or not.

Britons voted to leave the European Union in June.

“This (data) further reduces the possibility of BoE easing next week,” said Jordan Rochester, currency strategist at Nomura. “From the details we have, the upside was from service industries.”

Sterling rose to a high of $1.2273 GBP=D4 immediately after the data, its highest since Oct. 20, before easing back to $1.2192, 0.4 percent lower on the day. The euro EURGBP=D4 was last trading at 89.55 pence, up 0.5 percent on the day.

The data came on a day when Japanese carmaker Nissan 7201.T said it would build its new Qashqai and X-Trail models in Britain despite the vote to quit the EU, a significant boost for Britain's post-Brexit investment outlook.


The latest data suggested that the economy was holding up pretty well despite the shock Brexit vote, which many had predicted would lead to a sharp downturn in economic activity.

Nevertheless, the currency has shed nearly 18 percent against the dollar since the referendum, with losses accelerating in October after Prime Minister Theresa May raised the prospect of a “hard” Brexit.

This would mean the government favouring tighter immigration controls over free trade in exit negotiations, potentially curbing the foreign investment needed to fund Britain’s huge current account deficit.

In early September, the Bank of England said it was likely to cut rates again this year if the economy slowed.

But sterling’s weakness, a rise in inflation expectations and the latest growth data have prompted most to rule out a Nov. 3 cut - around three quarters of the 60 economists polled by Reuters in the past few days expect rates to stay at 0.25 percent for the rest of the year. [BOE/INT]

Nevertheless, analysts expect the economy to suffer in 2017 as the uncertainties facing businesses and consumers are exacerbated by the triggering of Article 50 - the clause that formally begins the divorce proceedings with the EU - expected early next year.

“Today’s figures are strong evidence for ruling out the worst-case scenario for the economy in the short term, but it’s still far from clear if this will be enough to create a sustained rally in sterling, considering the ongoing political uncertainty,” said Ranko Berich, head of market analysis at Monex Europe.

additional reporting by Abhinav Ramnarayan; Editing by Kevin Liffey; Editing by Andrew Heavens