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Sterling fades as Conservatives vote in UK leadership contest

Credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC

The pound slipped on Thursday as concern grew about a leadership contest in Britain that may lead to a disorderly departure from the European Union.

Graphic: World FX rates in 2019 http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

Graphic: Trade-weighted sterling since Brexit vote http://tmsnrt.rs/2hwV9Hv

LONDON, June 13 (Reuters) - The pound slipped on Thursday as concern grew about a leadership contest in Britain that may lead to a disorderly departure from the European Union.

Boris Johnson, the front-runner in the contest to replace Prime Minister Theresa May, has said he wants to Britain to quit the EU at the end of October even if that means leaving without a deal.

The process of replacing May starts on Thursday, when Britain's ruling Conservatives vote to eliminate at least one of the 10 candidates for the leadership.

Political uncertainty and parliamentary feuding have unnerved investors, who are avoiding sterling until a new British leader is in place.

"I can't see sterling getting any help. Negative sentiment is building, and a move towards 91 pence per euro isn't at all out of the question as ‘no-deal' fears grow," said Societe Generale strategist Kit Juckes.

The pound was down 0.2% at $1.2662, close to a one-week low of $1.2653 hit on Monday GBP=D3. It was down 0.2% against the euro at 89.2 pence. EURGBP=D3

Conservative lawmakers will cast their votes in the first round of the leadership conteset between 0900 GMT and 1100 GMT. Any candidate with 16 votes or fewer will be eliminated. A new prime minister should be chosen by the end of July.

Johnson led the official campaign to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum. Betting markets give him a 67% probability of winning the top job.

(Reporting by Tom Finn, editing by Larry King)

((tom.finn@tr.com; +44 2075427508 ; Reuters Messaging: tom.finn.reuters.com@reuters.net))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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