By Peter Nurse
Investing.com – European equity markets are opening lower on Friday, with doubts growing again on whether the UK and the European Union can agree on a post-Brexit trade deal.
At 2:05 am ET (0705 GMT), the contract in Germany was down 0.3%, in France it was down by 0.4% and the contract in the UK was down by 0.9%.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said late Thursday that “big differences” remain between the two sides, particularly on fishing, and that “overcoming them will be very challenging”.
A spokesman for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also warned that it was “very likely” that there would be no deal unless the bloc changed its position “substantially”.
Talks are progressing behind the scenes and one might expect such negative language as a negotiation tactic, but time is running out for the two sides to agree to a deal to cover approximately $ 1 trillion in annual exchanges at risk of facing tariffs and quotas at the end. of the year.
This potential disruption to the European economy as a whole comes as the region continues to suffer from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Germany has entered a rigid blockade, closing schools and non-essential businesses, Switzerland is considering closing restaurants for a month, French President Emmanuel Macron has tested positive for the virus, while England has increased restrictions by millions and a new bloc in Northern Ireland will do so. start the day after Christmas.
That said, there was some positive news on the other side of the Atlantic. An advisory committee recommended the approval of Modern (NASDAQ 🙂 Covid-19 drug late Thursday, paving the way for a second vaccine to enter the fight against the pandemic.
Additionally, negotiations on a new cost package for coronavirus relief continued Thursday, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saying a bipartisan deal “appears to be close.”
Turning to economic data, the UK fell sharply in November due to virus restrictions, dropping 3.8% on the month, but the main focus will be on the index later in the session.
In company news, EssilorLuxottica (PA 🙂 started the search for a new CEO after struggling with the executive power-sharing agreement put in place when the company was created from the merger between France’s Essilor and Italy’s Luxottica in 2018.
Oil prices slipped, retreating from nine-month highs seen the previous session as traders waited for Congress to approve a new Covid-19 aid package.
futures traded 0.3% lower to $ 48.20 a barrel, while the international benchmark contract fell 0.5% to $ 51.25. Both benchmarks hit their highest levels since early March on Thursday.
Elsewhere, it fell 0.1% to $ 1,887.70 / oz, while trading down 0.1% to 1.2251.
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