Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.
Sterling is on a roll this morning, amid signs that Britain and the European Union are on the brink of a Brexit breakthrough.
The pound has jumped over the $1.34 mark for the first time since the end of September, up almost three quarters of a cent.
It is also pushing higher against the euro, up 0.3% at €1.13.
The rally was triggered by reports that London could pay a £50bn exit bill, in an attempt to nudge European politicians into starting negotiations about trade.
A deal would ease fears that Britain could crash out of the EU in March 2019 in a disorderly Brexit.
Wednesday’s GUARDIAN: UK faces £50bn divorce bill after bowing to EU demands #tomorrowspaperstoday pic.twitter.com/9TG9QRAIAe
November 28, 2017
EU leaders will decide next month whether this is enough to move negotiations onto trade, so this could be a very significant moment.
Non-stop behind-the-scenes negotiations have led to a broad agreement by the UK to a gross financial settlement of £89bn on leaving the bloc, although the British expect the final net bill to be half as much.
A senior EU official told the Guardian that the UK appeared ready to honour its share of the EU’s unpaid bills, loans, pension and other liabilities accrued over 44 years of membership. “We have heard the UK wants to come along with the money,” the official said. “We have understood it covers the liabilities and what we consider the real commitments. But we have to see the fine print.”
The bill could total £53bn to £58bn (€60bn to €65bn), although EU officials are not discussing numbers and the British government will fight hard to bring the total down.
Here’s the full story:
We’ll be tracking City reaction to the news, along with new data showing the state of the UK, US and eurozone economies.
9.30am GMT: UK consumer credit and mortgage approval figures for October
10am GMT: Eurozone consumer and economic confidence stats for November
1pm GMT: German inflation data for November
1.30pm GMT: The second estimate of US GDP for the third quarter of 2017