WATCH: Markets look to earnings, EU summit to cure recent pains | Fin24
  • Load Shedding Schedules

    Find information for Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town and other cities.

  • Eskom Debt

    'Hard to believe' tweets minister, after Zim at last pays off debt to power utility.

  • Corruption Watch

    Corruption 'all but collapsing' public healthcare, warns watchdog amid coronavirus chaos.


WATCH: Markets look to earnings, EU summit to cure recent pains

Oct 15 2018 10:43
Bloomberg News, Video: Reuters

Growing hopes that the UK and the European Union could cut a Brexit deal at a key summit on Wednesday were dashed over the weekend as talks broke up in stalemate on Sunday.

Even a surprise trip to Brussels by Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab to meet his EU counterpart, Michel Barnier, failed to break the deadlock. In a sign of how bad things have gotten, there will be no further attempt to resolve the impasse before EU leaders gather for their long-scheduled summit. A planned meeting of government officials on Monday, meant to prepare the way for an agreement later this week, was canceled.

Officials on both sides have all but given up on a breakthrough this week, and are increasingly concerned that time is running out to get a deal before the UK’s scheduled exit in March, Ian Wishart and Tim Ross report.

The weekend was meant to be a chance to crack the thorniest issue in the talks: how to avoid erecting a policed border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland without creating barriers between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain. The plan was that leaders on Wednesday would be able to declare progress and signal that a final accord could be signed in mid-November. That timetable, which markets had started to price in, has been thrown off and there’s likely to be more talk now of how to prepare for a chaotic and acrimonious split.

Sabine Weyand, Barnier’s deputy, told ambassadors it was clear from Sunday’s talks that for domestic reasons the UK needed more time before it could make concessions, according to a diplomat in the meeting.

Still, there’s a school of thought in Brussels that Prime Minister Theresa May needs a good fight in October to help her get approval at home of any pact she finally secures. Ian Wishart wrote about that last week, when EU diplomats said the UK was always going to have to invoke a spirit of national crisis and unity before a deal could be done. 

A summit in Salzburg, Austria, in September left May isolated and humiliated, but she turned the diplomatic disaster to her advantage at home. Whatever deal May finally secures has to go through Parliament, where she will need to convince rebels on her own side and lawmakers in the opposition to support her. A breakdown in relations in October could potentially help by showing she had stood her ground – and encouraging lawmakers to stare into the abyss of a no-deal scenario.

Brexit in Brief

How Many Flints | Labour lawmaker Caroline Flint signaled she would vote for May’s Brexit deal if it’s “reasonable”, even if it means defying party discipline. “If a reasonable deal is on the table, the question is, why wouldn’t you support it?” As May faces a rebellion from pro-Brexit hardliners in her own ranks, the most important question for her whips now is how many Labour lawmakers might think like Flint.

Scottish Threat | Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, and Scottish Secretary David Mundell have told May they could resign if a Brexit deal treats Northern Ireland differently than the rest of the UK, the BBC reports. 

Dublin Win | Hudson River Trading LLC, one of Europe’s biggest equity traders, picked Dublin to be its EU base after Brexit. The New York-based firm is one of the biggest algorithmic traders of European equities. Any business wanting to trade with EU-based clients needs to have a regulated entity in place before the UK formally leaves the bloc on March 29. If there’s no deal, the City of London’s finance firms will be cut off from their continental trading partners when markets reopen on April 1.

Foster’s Forecast | Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster, who props up May’s government, thinks Britain will probably crash out without a deal because the UK proposals on the Irish backstop are unacceptable, according to a set of emails leaked to the Observer.

The Cost of Brexit | The Bloomberg Brexit Barometer sank last month to the lowest level since January, returning to “windy” conditions for the first time since early 2018. Weakening sentiment principally drove the decline, even as the UK economy appears on course for its best calendar quarter in almost two years.

Pound Drops | The pound fell as much as 0.5% against the dollar after the talks in Brussels stalled. Analysts had been predicting a surge in sterling this week if a deal was agreed. It traded at $1.3112 early on Monday.

* Sign up to Fin24's top news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO FIN24 NEWSLETTER



Company Snapshot

Voting Booth

Do you support a reduction in the public sector wage bill?

Previous results · Suggest a vote