Asia markets finished mixed on Wednesday and sterling slipped as markets await the formal move by the U.K. to start an historic split with the European Union.
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May signed the official letter to the European Council President Donald Tusk on Tuesday to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. The EU will have two days to respond to the letter, after it has been delivered to Tusk on Wednesday at 12:30 BST.
"The triggering of Article 50 is unlikely to create an immediate sea of change," said Tim Riddell, director at Westpac Institutional Bank, in a Wednesday note.
"This is the start of the beginning of the negotiations. Once initial bargaining position details start to ping between EU and U.K. and are dissected by the media and markets, the enormity of the task ahead may start to weigh confidence and markets," he explained.
The Scottish parliament on Tuesday backed First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's bid for a new independence referendum, to be held in 2018 or 2019. The proposal was immediately rejected by the by the British government.
Japan's Keidanren, a business group whose membership includes Toyota, Hitachi and other large Japanese investors in the U.K., is preparing a communiqué taking issue with May's "no Brexit deal is better than a bad deal."
The pound eased 0.31 percent at $1.2411 at 3 pm HK/SIN, and the euro was weaker at $1.0786.