Sterling at $1.36 as Brexit deal is sealed - live updates
Ben Wright: UK plc needs to find its voice again after years in the political wilderness
The pound sterling holds at $ 1.36 after the deal is final
The Brexit deal could boost the economy by 5 percentage points
Russell Lynch: The economy will get worse next year before it gets better
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At her briefing in Brussels, Ursula von der Leyen said that the EU and the UK have a fair deal that protects the interests of both parties, fair competition and EU standards.
There is also more than five years of predictability for fish.
Briefings are coming
Boris Johnson will hold a press conference at 3 p.m., while Ursula von der Leyen and negotiator Michel Barnier will also hold a press conference shortly, the EU said.
Brexit deal is "closed"
UK and European Union negotiators have concluded their post-Brexit trade deal, according to officials with knowledge of the matter, Bloomberg reports.
The agreement will now go to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, for formal approval, officials said.
Three more offers ...
Well, some groundbreaking Christmas treats from Secretary of Commerce Liz Truss that will bring joy to so many:
The FTSE 250 outperforms the blue chip index
The stock market has now closed and the FTSE 250 rose 0.6 percentage points in the shortened session. A proxy for Brexit sentiment, the mid-cap index returned to its late February high, while small-cap stocks rose 0.8 percentage points to a record high.
The UK's largest banks, Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays and NatWest, gained between 2 and 4.5 percent in hopes the elusive Brexit trade deal will improve the economic outlook in 2021.
"By eliminating a major downside risk to the UK economy in the short and long term, a deal would unlock significant investment in the UK and support the recovery once the ongoing coronavirus shock wears off," wrote Berenberg economists.
However, the FTSE 100, which includes many companies that generate a large portion of their revenue overseas, gave back most of its profits and was only 6 points higher at 6,502.
Astra is hoping for a Christmas present
Many more parts of the country will face level four restrictions as of Boxing Day, and attention will now be focused on vaccinating as many people as possible as soon as possible.
Reuters has published a special report on the Oxford University / AstraZeneca vaccine that has yet to be approved by regulatory agencies.
The pharmaceutical company FTSE 100 is hoping for a quick decision, but the question of how its experiments were conducted and the results below remain.
Read the Reuters report here.
The pound sterling has cut some early gains to 0.6 percentage points at $ 1.3572 as the wait continues.
Bad times for brewers
Pigs Back Brewery in Farnham
Rolling locks continue to weigh on UK brewers and many are expected to hit the wall before the pandemic ends.
According to the Society of Independent Brewers, to some extent, around 1,500 are operating, but two close each week as more pubs close their doors.
Simon Foy spoke to Rupert Thompson, the owner of Hogs Back Brewery in Farnham, Surrey, about the customization.
Tick Tack ...
BBC Brussels correspondent Nick Beake has news we don't want to hear:
'Extremely positive signal'
Not much fuss in the markets as vendors prepare to close for the Christmas holiday. The FTSE 100 is now in the red, although the 250 is still about 1 piece higher.
Barclays' Emmanuel Cau says the trade deal isn't unexpected but should be a relief for traders nonetheless. “The worst-case macro scenario for the UK economy has been avoided. However, the impact of new locks and uncertainty about the new strains of the virus could limit the potential upside for domestic stocks in the short term, ”he says.
The FTSE 250 has reduced its annual decline to 6.2 percentage points - better than the 14 percentage points of the FTSE 100. Strategists are optimistic about the outlook for UK equities in 2021 as the market emerges from the Brexit overhang since the referendum 2016 exists.
Kairos Partners' Alberto Tocchio says the 250 should start outperforming the blue chip index as domestic companies will benefit the most from an agreement with the EU. "The deal is an extremely positive signal for both the UK and Europe."
Brexit boost for the economy
EY Item Club economists expect a trade deal will result in a 5.5 percentage point increase in GDP next year - just over half of the 10.6 percentage points lost in 2020 - as the clarity for businesses and Covid vaccinations together lift the UK out of recession.
Read more here from my colleagues Michael O'Dwyer and Tim Wallace.
Crude oil prices are falling
Oil is facing its first weekly loss since October as the discovery of a potentially faster spreading variant of Covid in the UK has increased the risk of further lockdowns around the world.
Brent futures are flat at nearly $ 51 a barrel but are down nearly 2 percent this week.
Don't hold your breath ...
The BBC's political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, tweeted:
According to Credit Agricole, the pound sterling could go as high as $ 1.37 if a deal is announced on Christmas Eve.
While this is its highest level since May 2018, it is less than 1 percent above Thursday's high of $ 1.3607.
"The upward trend is pretty low now," says Adam Cole of RBC Europe. "With the quotes from the bookmakers as proxy, the likelihood of a deal rose from 50 percent on the weekend to 90 percent yesterday, so I think the new prices are largely closed."
TikTok UK drops to a loss of $ 120 million
TikTok's UK operation, which was temporarily away from Brexit, plunged to a $ 120 million (£ 87 million) loss in 2019 caused by advertising and marketing expenses. This underlines the rapid expansion of the app.
Chinese owner ByteDance has not disclosed any worldwide sales, but UK sales were $ 20 million last year according to its latest reports, Bloomberg reported. Selling and marketing expenses were $ 109 million.
ByteDance is said to have generated more than $ 3 billion in profit on sales of $ 17 billion and is now worth $ 140 billion, according to startup tracker CB Insights.
And who says TikTok is just for fun? Pictured is Steven Chen, a former California school teacher who now has a TikTok account @calltoleap that provides financial advice to approximately 360,000 followers.
More words of wisdom from my colleague Alan Tovey:
Information from industry sources suggests the deal is not doing well with manufacturers in the country. While it has been described as "better than the ultimate no-business disaster," it is far less than the companies that make up 10 percent of the UK economy had hoped.
Admittedly, this judgment is based on leaks in well-placed sources without the documents having yet been seen. It denoted what, in their opinion, was far from a festive pleasure. An insider described what the industry expects from the negotiations as "a fine pulp".
The pound continues to rise
The pound sterling has risen to $ 1.36 - very close to its high this year - as markets wait for Boris Johnson to announce that a trade deal has finally been reached with the EU.
Reasons to be Merry - Christmas Edition ...
Rather happy news from analysts at Jefferies entitled Hark! The Herald Angels Sing: Glory for the New Born Deal.
With the toughest Brexiters evicted from Downing Street in late November, and despite recent pushes from some EU citizens and a new twist on Covid posing serious obstacles, negotiators have now been able to find a "landing zone" for a deal.
Details will be slow to emerge from a 2,000-page text, but we expect the stuff to remain largely speculated (i.e., duty-free trade in goods with all service deals remaining at a later date) and the pound to continue trending higher trajectory. Ratification (albeit possibly in a provisional form) by both sides seems likely before the end of the year.
Relief for the automotive industry
Jaguar workers at the Castle Bromwich factory
A trade deal will save hundreds of thousands of jobs in the UK auto industry at £ 45 billion a year. More from my colleague Alan Tovey.
The sector has been one of the most vocal in urging politicians to work out a deal that mimics the smooth trade deal that helped spark a renaissance in British auto manufacturing until after the Brexit vote. With 80 percent of all cars rolling off the exported British production lines - most of them to Europe - Britain would break out of the trading bloc and the expected introduction of 10 percent tariffs under WTO rules would be catastrophic, which would drive prices here in cars produced in an industry would skyrocket with notoriously thin edges.
British auto plants don't just rely on export markets for their finished products, on average only about 40 percent of the components they are made from are domestic. Taxes on entry would cause additional costs.
Many parts also cross the channel multiple times as they are assembled into sub-assemblies and manufactured in “just-in-time” supply chains for efficiency gains, which further complicates matters. Manufacturers have repeatedly warned of the threat a no-deal outcome would pose to the nearly 1 million UK workers who rely on the automotive sector, 170,000 of them directly in vehicle manufacturing.
Not so Merry Christmas to Ma
It wasn't a good day for Jack Ma after China's market regulator announced it was investigating Alibaba for alleged monopoly behavior.
Alibaba's shares plunged 6.3 percentage points - the largest daily decline in six weeks.
The announcement by the Chinese state administration for market regulation comes months after Beijing forced Ma to undertake a massive public listing of its fintech firm Ant Group.
Regulators, including China's central bank, also said they would call for talks with the Ant Group on consumer issues.
The moves signal potential efforts to limit the power of large internet companies in China as Beijing seeks greater control over the internet.
Clarity for business
Barclays UK outgoing chairman Sir Ian Cheshire says a trade deal will give companies the clarity they need.
He told BBC Radio 4's Today program: "This was strictly politics - it was always the last breed of rabbit out of the hat.
"And I'm very happy that it looks like we can get on with ... our most important trading relationship. And business can plan. I think that has been the overarching theme for businesses for the past two years. You get accused on occasion for not having done this. " be ready, and the question is - ready for what?
"At least we have clarity now and can continue."
Timing is everything
There are some suggestions for a press conference today at 10 a.m., although the negotiators are reportedly still haggling over the final details on fish.
Simon Coveney, the Irish Foreign Secretary, says the fisheries have been agreed in principle but there are still discussions about the details.
Negotiators are understood to mean haggling over which species and how many can be caught.
A scheduled briefing in Brussels on fish at 8:30 a.m. has been canceled as talks continue.
Good morning - we're kind of on hold while we wait for the white smoke from Brussels and Downing Street.
However, the pound sterling is headed for $ 1.36, gaining 0.7 percentage points further this morning to $ 1.3582, and the FTSE 100 is up 0.5 percent meaning markets are expecting that the deal comes over the line.
Domestic stocks, including Lloyds Banking Group and Barclays, are leading blue-chip risers this morning, up 6 percent and nearly 4 percent respectively. It is a short trading day with the market closing at noon.
Across the channel, the Cac 40 in Paris is 0.2 percentage points higher while Frankfurt is reasonably closed.
5 things to start your day:
1) Investors are betting on a rising pound as the Brexit deal is about to close: Analysts forecast that the pound sterling could rise against the euro by up to 6 percentage points to its highest level in months if a Brexit deal is reached is finally completed.
2) School closings for two weeks can cost up to £ 5bn: sending students home is a double blow to education cancellation while keeping up to 2 million parents from work.
3) Tier 4 offers retailers a Christmas nightmare: Over 170,000 companies have already had to close due to Tier 4 restrictions, and another 50,000 will have to close on Boxing Day.
4) Truckers should avoid stuck Kent: The warning "Avoid all trips to Kent ports including the Eurotunnel and other routes to France" is broadcast throughout Europe.
5) EasyJet prepares to remove voting rights from investors to avoid a Brexit closure: Investors supported easyJet's contingency plan to circumvent strict EU ownership rules by removing voting rights from non-EU shareholders.
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