The chances of the UK and EU securing a deal before the end of the year have risen to almost 60%, after hitting an all-time low ahead of crunch talks between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen over the weekend.
The pair had a phone call on 13 December for around 30 minutes, in which they agreed to continue negotiations “to see whether an agreement can even at this late stage be reached”.
Odds provided by Smarkets showed that the likelihood of a deal had dropped as low as 37% on 12 December, ahead of the 13 December deadline for the two sides to make a “firm decision” on Brexit.
As of 8:30am GMT on 14 December, those odds had improved to 59.88%. Conversely, the chances for the UK exiting the transition period on 1 January with no deal in a separate betting market sat at 42%.
The expectation that the transition period will be extended remain low at 15%, with a possible extension of up to three months being the most likely option should that occur.
“We don’t want to walk away from [the talks] as long as there is an opportunity to reach a Canada-style deal,” business minister Alok Sharma told BBC’s Today on 14 December.
“Businesses and people in this country will want us to go the extra mile and that’s what we’re doing.”
Sticking points remain between the two sides on the issues of fishing rights and equivalence, having largely resolved the controversial matter of the Irish border earlier this month.
British culture secretary Oliver Dowden said on 11 December that the negotiations between London and Brussels were “90% of the way there”, despite Johnson’s comments that a no-deal outcome was a “strong possibility” at this stage.
Both the UK and the EU have urged their respective ministers to begin in earnest preparations for a no-deal scenario.
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