BRUSSELS, BELGIUM – FEBRUARY 3: European Union Chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier makes a speech during a press conference in Brussels, Belgium on February 3, 2020.
Sterling jumped more than 0.8% against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday after the EU signaled that a trade deal with the U.K. is still possible.
“Despite the difficulties we’ve faced, an agreement is within reach if both sides are willing to work constructively, if both sides are willing to compromise and if we are able to make progress in the next few days on the basis of legal texts and if we are ready over the next few days to resolve the sticking points, the trickiest subjects,” the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier told the European Parliament.
His comment provided traders with some optimism that a trade deal between the U.K. and the EU will be reached even though their negotiations have been stuck over the same three issues for months.
On Friday, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson struck a gloomy tone when warning exporters to prepare for a no deal with the EU. A spokesperson for the government went further on the same day saying that European negotiators did not need to travel to London this week if the EU wouldn’t change its approach to the talks.
British officials were disappointed late last week that European leaders had called on the U.K. “to make the necessary moves to make an agreement possible.”