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Photo: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The British pound rose by the most in nearly 2 years on Wednesday after lawmakers voted down the latest Brexit proposal — an amendment to leave the EU with no agreement in place.

The big picture: As the deadline has closed in, investors have increased rather than decreased bullish bets on the pound. The CFTC reported last week speculators had cut net short positions on sterling by half since September 2018 and reduced positions by about $1.5 billion since the week of Dec. 21.

Even as the dollar has risen against major currencies around the globe so far this year, sterling has gained 4% on the greenback.

Where it stands: The value of the pound sank after the Brexit vote in June 2016 from around $1.50 to $1.32 almost immediately and has ebbed and flowed since, now hovering right around that level.

The bottom line: It may simply be that traders got it right when Britain voted to leave in the first place and nothing has materially changed since then.

Go deeper: Everything else you need to know about Brexit

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

Containers carrying doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine arrive in Brazil. Photo: Maurio Pimentel/AFP via Getty Images

Brazil on Saturday began distributing the 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine that arrived from India Friday, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Brazil has the third highest COVID-19 case-count in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The 2 million doses "only scratch the surface of the shortfall," Brazilian public health experts told the AP.

Sullivan speaks with Israel's national security adviser for the first time

Israeli national security adviser Meir Ben Shabbat U.S. Photo: Mazen Mahdi/Getty Images. U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan. Photo: Chandan Khanna/Getty Images

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke on the phone Saturday with his Israeli counterpart Meir Ben Shabbat, Israeli officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: This is the first contact between the Biden White House and Israeli prime minister's office. During the transition, the Biden team refrained from speaking to foreign governments.

Biden speaks to Mexican president about reversing Trump's "draconian immigration policies"

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

President Biden told his Mexican counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, on a phone call Friday that he plans to reverse former President Trump’s “draconian immigration policies.”

The big picture: The Biden administration has already started repealing several of Trump’s immigration policies, including ordering a 100-day freeze on deporting many unauthorized immigrants, halting work on the southern border wall, and reversing plans to exclude undocumented people from being included in the 2020 census.