The Associated Press BLED, Slovenia (AP) — The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator was cautiously optimistic Monday about the prospects of a deal with Britain by early November, in comments that triggered a big rally in the value of the pound.
At a conference in the Alpine lake resort of Bled in northwestern Slovenia, Michel Barnier said a Brexit deal was “not far” and that some 80 percent of the withdrawal agreement had been agreed.
Though Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29, 2019, an agreement will have to be reached months beforehand in order to get the necessary ratifications though such places as the British Parliament and the European Parliament.
Being “realistic,” Barnier said a Brexit deal can be reached within six or eight weeks and by early November.
“I think it’s possible,” Barnier said at a panel dubbed “Bridging the Divide.”
His comments helped the pound push back above $1.30. In late afternoon trading, the pound was 0.9 percent higher at $1.3030.
“Clearly there is a feeling that a lot of Brexit pessimism and no deal risk has been priced in which is why we’re in a state of such sensitivity to any reports that indicate a breakthrough will come,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at London-based financial trading firm OANDA.Speech