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20 November 2020

European session review: GBP mixed after reports that UK and EU are "very close" to agreement on most issues

TimeCountryEventPeriodPrevious valueForecastActual
07:00GermanyProducer Price Index (YoY)October-1%-0.7%-0.7%
07:00GermanyProducer Price Index (MoM)October0.4%0.1%0.1%
07:00United KingdomPSNB, blnOctober-36.1-35.2-22.3
07:00United KingdomRetail Sales (YoY) October4.6%4.2%5.8%
07:00United KingdomRetail Sales (MoM)October1.4%0%1.2%
13:00GermanyGerman Buba President Weidmann Speaks    


GBP traded mixed against its major rivals in the European session on Friday, with declines versus AUD,  NZD and CAD and gains versus USD, EUR, JPY and CHF. 

Hopes for a Brexit deal renewed after the EU diplomat said that the UK and the EU Brexit negotiators are very close to an agreement in trade talks on most issues, even if there are still differences on three main issues (level playing field, governance and fisheries). “We are very close to agreement on most issues but differences on the three contentious issues persist,” a senior EU diplomat told Reuters after the briefing from the senior member of the bloc’s executive European Commission. Meanwhile, another EU diplomat commented on the three core sticking points: “They still need their time. Some things on the level playing field have moved, albeit very, very slowly. Fisheries are not really moving anywhere right now.” Nonetheless, the EU officials reportedly still hope that negotiations can be finalized quickly if and once the necessary political decisions are taken in London.

The European Commission (EC) president Ursula von der Leyen also provided upbeat comments on Brexit talks. She noted that better progress had been seen in the last days better, with more movement on important files. However, der Leyen added that the sides still had a lot of work to do, as there were still "quite some meters to the finish line". “The whole team is engaged and working tirelessly day and night to reach the natural deadline we have to be done by the end of the year,” she said. 

With EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier in self-isolation after one negotiator from his team tested positive for COVID-19, the talks with the UK will be conducted almost entirely online over the next few days. 

The better-than-expected UK's retail sales data also offered cause for optimism. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that the UK's retail sales surged 1.2 percent m-o-m in October following a downwardly revised 1.4 percent m-o-m climb in September (originally a 1.5 percent m-o-m jump). This was the sixth consecutive rise in retail sales. Economists had forecast a flat m-o-m reading.

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