Brexit negotiations

Sterling drifts as Johnson heads for talks in Brussels


Boris Johnson: more talks

The pound was the worst-performing major currency yesterday falling 1.3% against the dollar as Boris Johnson heads to Brussels in a last-ditch bid to reach a Brexit deal.

Mr Johnson will hold further talks after his hour-long phone call with EU president Ursula von der Leyen failed to make a breakthrough and as an industry leader issued a new warning to the Prime Minister.

The boss of Toyota’s European business, Dr Johan van Zyl, said no deal would create a “very negative investment environment” in Britain.

Markets remain on tenterhooks, but broadly hopeful that a deal can still be reached. CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said: “If the PM thinks a visit to Brussels is worthwhile then that would suggest the doorway to a deal remains open.”

The FTSE 100 was being called down 10 points by CMC Markets and down 19.3 at IG Index, with markets in France and Germany also likely to be subdued.

There were hints that Mr Johnson has offered some concessions on the critical issue of the internal market bill in order to secure a deal before finally severing ties on 1 January.


Call with Ursula von der Leyen failed to make a breakthrough

He offered a major olive branch earlier in the day by pledging to scrap several clauses that would have breached the terms of the withdrawal agreement.

However, the controversial bill was passed in the Commons with the clauses deleted by the Lords re-inserted by the government.

Mr Johnson may use the tip to Brussels to meet other EU leaders, who are likely to be in the city for the EU Council summit.

Significant differences remain on fisheries, the ‘level playing field’, and competition rules.

The impasse has led to a warning that a no-deal Brexit would lead to a 2% hit to the British economy and more than 300,000 job losses in the next year alone.

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