Sterling falls as Britain steps up planning for no-deal Brexit

LONDON (Reuters) - Sterling fell on Thursday as the government stepped up planning for a no-deal Brexit, reviving concern among investors about what would happen to the currency if Britain left the European Union without having agreed new trade arrangements.

With less than eight months until the March 29 exit day, diplomats in Brussels say they expect a delay in finalising the terms of Britain’s exit and may need to hold an emergency summit in November.

A rallying dollar and growing expectations that Britain could soon be fending for itself without any agreement with the EU, its biggest trading partner, are both punishing the pound.

Later on Thursday, Britain will publish 25 technical papers giving advice for people and businesses to cope with any disruption arising from leaving the European Union without a deal.

Britain’s Brexit Minister Dominic Raab said he was confident a good deal with the EU remained in sight but that did not lift the currency.

At GMT 0810 it traded down 0.4 percent versus the dollar at $1.2862 and flat against the euro at 89.85 pence..

The currency plunged to $1.2662 last week, its lowest since June 2017, after several ministers warned that the risk of leaving without an agreement has increased. Earlier this month trade minister Liam Fox put the chances at 60-40

“We remain bearish on the pound in the short term until the Brexit mess is out the way,” said Nomura strategist Jordan Rochester, predicting a range of $1.27-$1.28 before September.

Many economists say failure to agree exit terms would seriously damage the world’s fifth-largest economy as trade with the EU would become subject to tariffs and regulatory barriers.

Supporters of Brexit say there may be some short-term pain for the economy, but that long-term it will prosper when cut free from the EU.

Reporting by Tom Finn; Editing by Gareth Jones