This article was first published on 8th April 2019, for betting.betfair.com
We’re approaching Brexit D-Day once again, with the UK scheduled to leave the EU on Friday at 11pm, with no agreement yet in place. This may seem counterintuitive given the deadlock in Westminster but the imminent developments will, one way or another, provide some clarity. Numerous long-running betting markets will soon be resolved and there could be a domino effect.
If the Betfair signals are right, leaving this Friday on WTO terms is highly unlikely. A No Deal Brexit at any time in 2019 is available to back at 6.2, equivalent to a 17% chance.
Win or lose, No Deal now worth a trade
Whilst I do not believe no deal will happen, these odds have trading potential. These are dramatic, unpredictable days in Westminster and the all-important EU summit will ramp stress levels further.
Unless Theresa May can somehow demonstrate that her Withdrawal Agreement will imminently win despite three resounding losses, she will need to ask the EU for a long extension to Article 50. Leaders like Donald Tusk have strongly implied they are open to that but a unilateral decision cannot be taken for granted.
Regardless of whether they are sustained, there will be objections. The other 27 national leaders are fighting Euro elections and playing hardball on Brexit is, in some cases, an unavoidable tactic.
Nigel Farage has been lobbying right-wing populist allies to veto the extension. Vladimir Putin may well be doing the same. Italy and Hungary have precisely the type of pro-Kremlin regimes that the EU fears are intent on destruction from within.