Barnier Throws Doubt On Brexit Transition Period

Friday, 9th February: Volatility struck once again after European close yesterday as the Dow Jones (-4.15%) and S&P (-3.75%) entered into correction territory  (down 10% from record highs) for the first time in 2 years. Asian equity markets continued the negative trend, the Nikkei closing -2.32% and the Hang Seng lower by 3.10% overnight. The sentiment followed in to Friday’s European markets; the FTSE slipping more so as US markets opened eventually closing -1.09. Heavier losses were recorded across Europe; CAC 40 -1.41%, DAX Xetra -1.68% IBEX 35 -2.21%. The sporadic movements in the US continued with the Dow Jones leaving correction territory intra-day, only to dip back in at the time of writing (-0.45%.

Sterling took a wobble, dropping to a 3-week low after the EU’s chief negotiator threw doubt on a quick Brexit deal. Michel Barnier warned that any suggestion of a transition period immediately after the UK leaves the EU in 2019 is “not a given”. Barnier’s comments come at the end of 4 days of Brexit negotiations in Brussels. Both sides are hoping to wrap up discussions on the transition deal by March before moving on to future trade agreements. The issues of the Irish border was once again brought up. Sterling fell to below $1.38 and is sitting just below €1.13 at the time of writing.

After lengthy talks over night, the Senate missed a voting deadline for a proposed increase in spending on defence and domestic services, leading to the second government shut down of 2018. Federal funding for government services expired at midnight (US time) and animated talks were still ongoing in to the early hours. However, after moving on from last minute objections, the bill was approved by 240 votes to 186 and the 5 hour shutdown was resolved, with President Donald Trump tweeting that he had signed the bill, claiming to have given the military “everything – and more”.

Brent oil has fallen for the 6th consecutive day as oil production in the US continues to rise, despite OPEC and other large producers’ efforts to curb production. US producers look to have reacted to the recent rally in the commodity, pushing daily production to 10.25m barrels a day. Brent oil continued to fall as the afternoon wore on, dropping back below $64/bbl, lower by 1.93% @ $63.30 at the time of writing.

If the ferry doesn’t take your fancy, and flying isn’t convenient, there is now another alternative to get to Amsterdam from the UK. Already running trains between London, Paris and Brussels, Eurostar will be adding a twice daily route to Amsterdam from April 4th. The journey will take 3 hours and 41 minutes, going through Brussels and Rotterdam  before reaching the Dutch capital.


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