20/12/16 - Scotland To Hold Referendum

GBP

Scotland will hold a new referendum on separations from the UK unless it can stay in the European Union single market, said First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Sturgeon will detail proposals for a new arrangement with the U.K. to enable her country to remain inside the single market after Brexit, even if the government in London pulls England, Wales and Northern Ireland out. Voters in Scotland chose to stay in the EU in June’s referendum and now face being pulled out against their wishes by votes cast in England, she said in a commentary published in Monday’s Financial Times.

Britain's pound slipped by as much as one percent to a one-month low against the dollar on Monday, adding to two straight weeks of losses, amid uncertainty over how the country will help businesses manage its exit from the European Union.

Trade minister Liam Fox said on Sunday Britain may need a transitional agreement to bridge the gap for firms during negotiations with the EU, but it should not "buy back" into too many of the bloc's regulations.

Meanwhile, the Financial Times reported on Sunday that EU Brexit negotiators are insisting Britain agree to its European divorce settlement before Brussels offers any transitional deal.  A survey showed half of British employers think the country's attractiveness as a place to invest and hire will diminish over the next five years as it leaves the EU.

EUR

Troubled lenders including Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS) and smaller competitors are in line to receive €15billion (£12.6bn) to help avoid a collapse, which could have devastating effect on the Italian economy. 

Rome is stepping in as time runs out for MPS to find a solution to its €40bn (£33bn) book of bad loans.  Italy's oldest bank only has until December 31 to find more cash, or face forced closure by the European Central Bank (ECB).

However under European Union rules, any bailout by the Government must be accompanied by losses for Italian savers and pensioners with bonds in the bank - a move that could spark a fierce backlash. Rome is reportedly begging Brussels to allow the state to give banks the cash, without inflicting losses on ordinary Italians.

MPS bosses had hoped the ECB would give them until January to raise about £4.2billion (€5bn) of cash, as part of a plan to stay afloat and protect its retail investors. But the request was turned down, leaving the lender with little choice but to press ahead with the cash-call from private investors, which is widely expected to fail after being thrown off course by the Italian referendum earlier this month. 

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