Pound under pressure amid Brexit deadlock, but bitcoin zooms through $14,000 – business live

Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.

The pound is under pressure this morning as traders worry that Britain may not get a Brexit breakthrough before Christmas.

Sterling dipped overnight to $1.337 against the US dollar, with no immediate sign of an end to the deadlock over the Irish border question. That’s almost two cents lower than Monday, when optimism of a deal was rising.

It’s also a little weaker against the euro, at €1.133.

Tensions mounted after Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, said the UK must agree the text on a potential deal by Friday night. Otherwise, the two sides can’t shift onto taking about that precious trade deal.

Time is running short, as analysts at FxPro warn this morning….

So, the City is looking to Westminster for some serious progress between the UK government, the DUP (it’s Northern Irish partners) and Dublin.

But if each side sticks to its principles, this will be tough – so sterling could have a choppy ride.

Bitcoin, meanwhile, continues to soar at an ever faster rate. The digital currency battered its way through the $14,000 mark overnight, having hit $12,000 yesterday.


Another day, yet another #Bitcoin record. The crypto-currency has now broken through $14,000#Bitcoin14K pic.twitter.com/RJO5wAvFzv

December 7, 2017

More consumers are jumping into bitcoin – presumably having heard stories of its rapid ascent. Institutional investors are also taking more interest, as they’ll soon be able to buy and sell bitcoin derivative contracts.

It will intensify the argument between those who think bitcoin is a monetary paradigm shift, and those who see a dangerous bubble.

Par example:

We’ll also be watching out for new UK house price figures, updated eurozone growth stats and the weekly US unemployment report:

The agenda

8.30am GMT: Halifax UK house price survey for November

10am GMT: Eurozone GDP statistics for Q3 2016 (second estimate)

1.30pm GMT: US weekly jobless claims

4pm GMT: European Central Bank president Mario Draghi speaks at a press conference held by the Bank for International Settlement.