The New Zealand dollar was higher against the British pound on mounting speculation UK Prime Minister Theresa May is heading for a Brexit defeat.

The kiwi was trading at 52.51 British pence at 7:45am in Wellington from 51.77 British pence at 5pm in Wellington yesterday.  It was at 68.72 US cents from 68.41 US cents after tame US inflation data added to the view the US Federal Reserve has plenty of time before it needs to raise rates again.

Ahead of the vote on the deal in parliament – due 8am NZ time – May had failed to win over the main Brexit faction in her own party. Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, which props up her minority government, also said it would vote “no,” according to Reuters.   

May had received last-minute assurances on the treatment of the Northern Irish border from European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker late Monday. However, attorney general Geoffrey Cox said the assurances she had been given still meant the United Kingdom could be locked in the bloc’s orbit after Brexit. The pound tumbled in response. 

“If the vote fails, and smart money says it probably will, MPs will vote again tomorrow on whether to crash out with no deal or to delay Brexit,” says Mike Shirley, senior dealer at Kiwibank.

The kiwi was at 96.95 Australian cents from 96.73 Australian cents. It was at  60.79 euro cents from 60.74, at 76.45 yen from 76.19 and at 4.6084 Chinese yuan from 4.5928. The trade-weighted index was at 74.53 from 72.25.

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