Sterling has reacted, trading lower this morning after Bloomberg reported that the EU Brexit negotiating team had briefed ambassadors that Brexit talks remain unresolved on three main issues: a level playing field, governance and fisheries. Talks were suspended yesterday after a member of the EU negotiating team tested positive for Covid. In line with Belgian health regulations Chief negotiator Michel Barnier said he will be self-isolating for at least a week. Despite this setback Downing Street insisted the talks would resume remotely.
UK retail sales for last month released earlier this morning came in above expectations. October 2020 retail sales volume increased by 1.2% compared to September and this was the sixth consecutive monthly growth in the industry. The increased figure comes after consumers started Christmas shopping earlier this year after seeing early discounting from a range of stores. UK public sector borrowing for October released at the same time was £21.6bn. Although this was below the £31.5bn. As expected, in dealing with the virus pandemic over a 6 month period, the UK has borrowed the most it has ever done since records began in 1993.
ECB President Christine Largarde will be speaking later this morning at the European banking congress in Frankfurt. As the theme is “new sustainable growth model“ and related towards green financing, she is not expected to make many policy remarks. However, markets may focus later in day when Bundesbank Chief Weidmann speaks setting up a potential clash with Largarde. Weidmann has rejected calls recently for the ECB to use I bond buying powers to tackle climate change.
US Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin called an end overnight to some Federal Reserve pandemic lending. The Treasury has demanded back $500bn in stimulus funds from the Federal Reserve, dampening a previously positive mood, when reports surfaced yesterday that the US Senate Republican and Democrat leaders had agreed to resume negotiations on another coronavirus stimulus package.