Hong Kong: The pound rose on Monday after the UK and the European Union agreed to extend negotiations on a post-Brexit trade agreement to a self-set deadline, while most Asian markets rose, although the surge in coronavirus infections suppressed vaccine optimism.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU leader Ursula von der Leyen said after the crisis appeal that they would “double their efforts” to find common ground in the long-term dialogue .
“Our negotiating teams have been working day and night over recent days,” said von der Leyen, reading a joint statement agreed with Johnson as their Sunday deadline passed, with sticking points on issues including fishing rights and fair trade regulations.
“We have accordingly mandated our negotiators to continue the talks and to see whether an agreement can even at this late stage be reached.”
The news gave the pound a boost against the dollar and euro, though Johnson warned a deal was far from sure with less than three weeks until Britain leaves the single market on December 31.
“I’m afraid we’re still very far apart on some key things, but where there’s life there’s hope,” he said.
Both the EU and Britain were “now said to be showing flexibility”, said Axi strategist Stephen Innes.
“The view remains that Johnson will bet he can find a sufficient compromise to appease the Brexiteers rather than risk the political fallout from a no-deal exit whilst simultaneously facing the ongoing Covid crisis and likely lockdown scenarios” heading into the first quarter of 2021, Innes added.