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Sterling dips as EU leaders meet to discuss Brexit deal

Thu, 15th Oct 2020 09:28

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2020 http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

* Graphic: Trade-weighted sterling since Brexit vote http://tmsnrt.rs/2hwV9Hv

LONDON, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Sterling struggled to cling on to
the $1.30 level on Thursday as traders waited to see whether a
meeting of European Union leaders in Brussels would signal any
progress in troubled Brexit talks with Britain.

The pound has risen in recent sessions, propelled by a sense
that Britain and the EU will secure a trade deal before the
end-2020 deadline. But sterling remains far below a 2020 high of
nearly $1.35 hit in early September -- many investors reckon
that even if a deal is reached, it will be a limited one.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had proposed an Oct. 15
deadline to conclude talks for an agreement, and the European
Commission had an Oct. 31 deadline, but market-watchers say
neither of those dates constitute a hard stop on negotiations.

"On Brexit, we have seen negotiations with the EU go down to
the wire. But the original deadline of 15 October looks
difficult and we may see that postponed to end-October/early
November. The next few weeks will be crucial," said Justin
Onuekwusi, portfolio manager at Legal & General Investment
Management.

"We are positioned neutrally on sterling but given the
negative news flow we might look to take a contrarian view on
the currency as any deal would trigger a relief rally."

Goldman Sachs said in a note on Thursday that a thin Brexit
trade deal was likely to be struck by early November even if
there is some political drama at the EU summit.

Sterling dipped 0.1% to $1.2994 in early London
trading after reaching as high as $1.3030 in Asian hours.

The pound was unchanged versus the euro at 90.265 pence
. The British currency traded as strong as 88.66
pence in early September before tumbling to as low as 92.90
pence by the middle of the month after London said it would
undercut its earlier divorce treaty with Brussels.
(Reporting by Tommy Wilkes and Saikat Chatterjee
Editing by Gareth Jones)

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