Sterling jumps after EU negotiator Barnier says Brexit deal is still possible this week

Sterling rose sharply against the dollar Tuesday after optimistic comments on Brexit from EU negotiator Michel Barnier.

“Our team(s) are working hard, and work has just started now today, this work has been intense over the weekend and yesterday, because even if the agreement will be difficult, more and more difficult, to be frank, it is still possible this week,” Barnier told reporters in Luxembourg on Tuesday morning.
He added that “any agreement must work for everyone,” saying it is “high time to turn good intentions into a legal text.”
Traders have been on edge as the Brexit deadline of Oct. 31 approaches and there’s still no clear agreement for how the U.K. will leave the European Union.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson made fresh proposals earlier this month to overcome differences over the controversial Irish backstop — an insurance policy that is meant to protect the EU’s single market (an economic area with the same rules and standards) without imposing a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Last week, the U.K. and the EU seemingly drew closer when it came to their long-standing differences over the issue when Johnson agreed that there could not be a customs border on the island of Ireland.

Stef Block, the Dutch foreign affairs minister, said at his arrival in Luxembourg Tuesday that the U.K. has taken some steps, “but not enough to guarantee the integrity of the (EU) common market.”
“We still have time to avoid a no deal and we should use this time,” he said.

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