June 4, 2019 / 8:23 AM / 4 months ago

Sterling struggles as Trump weighs in on Brexit

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

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

LONDON, June 4 (Reuters) - The pound dropped to a 20-week low against the euro on Tuesday amid weak UK data and growing fears of a disruptive Brexit weighing on the currency.

The pound has dropped for four straight weeks, hit by concerns that Britain will crash out of the European Union on Oct. 31 without an agreement on the terms of its departure.

Sterling remained just above five-month lows on Tuesday, trading flat on the day around $1.2669. Against the euro, it fell 0.2% to 88.92 pence, a four-and-a-half-month low .

U.S. President Donald Trump, who arrived in Britain on Monday, has backed Brexit hard-liners such as Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage. On Tuesday, he will meet with Prime Minister Theresa May and attend a dinner that may include Brexit backers like Johnson.

May is quitting, and nearly a dozen candidates are vying to replace her as prime minister. Johnson, the bookmakers’ favourite, says the UK should leave the EU on Oct. 31 without any agreement.

“The pound is set to continue depreciating, but the rise in sterling risk premium and short speculative positioning now suggest a slower pace of depreciation,” said Petr Krpata, chief EMEA FX and interest rate strategist at ING.

Short positions on sterling are at their highest since March 17, according to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commissions, reflecting uncertainty on Britain’s economic outlook. (Reporting by Tom Finn)

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