Britain and the European Union were on the verge of a last-minute Brexit deal on Wednesday but Prime Minister Boris Johnson still has work to do at home to ensure his government and factious parliament approve the plan.
After another day of technical talks in Brussels, EU officials said an agreement had been reached on customs arrangements for Northern Ireland, ‘level playing field’ provisions on labour and environment standards that the EU has insisted on to ensure fair competition under a new trade deal after Brexit.
French President Emmanuel Macron said an agreement was being finalised and hoped it could be approved on Thursday.
A gauge of world stock markets was flat on Wednesday as U.S. data that raised concerns about a slowing economy was offset by a solid start to earnings season.
On Wall Street, stocks retreated after monthly retail sales data for September showed a decline for the first time in seven months, stoking concerns softness in the manufacturing sector was starting to spread to the broader economy.
Data later in the session showed business inventories were unexpectedly flat in August, which suggested inventory investment could also drag on third-quarter economic growth.
Concerns about the trade dispute between the U.S. and China also weighed. The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday passed legislation related to pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, prompting China to warn in response that bilateral relations would be damaged if the measures became law.
09.30 - GBP: Retail sales MoM; Forecast at -0.1% against previous of -0.2%