Sterling surges against the dollar but UK shares slip to a two per cent loss after British Prime Minister Theresa May calls a snap general election to strengthen her hand in Brexit negotiations. David Pollard reports.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER THERESA MAY, SAYING: "Let us put forward our plans for Brexit and our alternative programmes for government and then let the people decide." The UK's ruling Conservatives chose her as a predictable hand at the helm. She may yet prove anything but - Theresa May taking a nation by surprise. As she declares a snap general election on June 8th. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRUNO PAULSON, SAYING: "It makes perfect sense, if you are 21 percent ahead in the polls you take the chance." (SOUNDBITE) (English) BOB GILBERT, SAYING: "We think she is doing it deliberately when the opposition is very weak and when there is no credible alternative and we think it is bad news for the country." If good for sterling. The pound soaring 1.3 per cent to its highest since December. As traders saw a stronger hand for a government taking Britain towards the Brexit door. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BGC PARTNERS MARKET STRATEGIST, MIKE INGRAM, SAYING: "We might logically expect a much bigger and more defensive majority government post the June 8 election and make the negotiations that she has to conduct over Brexit that much more viable." But the FTSE 100 was heading for its biggest one day loss since Britain's Brexit vote in June. Nerves setting in over what it means for the UK economy - and for a post-referendum rebound in UK exports. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BGC PARTNERS MARKET STRATEGIST, MIKE INGRAM, SAYING: "We might expect that to somewhat to reverse if we were to see stronger sterling ... If that were to be realised, yes of course, all other things being equal, we would likely to see a deterioration in the trade deficit." Britain's main opposition party welcomed the election announcement - while a Brussels spokesman shrugged it off as 'normal' business. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER THERESA MAY, SAYING: "Britain is leaving the European Union and there can be no turning back." If for Britain, a new normal appears to be one step closer to becoming reality.