Betting odds put chance of last-minute Brexit deal at 78%

Kalila Sangster
·2-min read
European Commission's Head of Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom Michel Barnier raises his hand during a meeting of ambassadors of European Union governments in Brussels, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. Teetering on the brink of a no-deal Brexit departure, Britain and the European Union stepped back from the void Sunday and agreed to continue trade talks, although both downplayed the chances of success. (Yves Herman, Pool Photo via AP)
Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, said there had been 'good progress' in Brexit talks on Thursday morning. Photo: Yves Herman/Pool Photo via AP

Betting odds have put chance of last-minute Brexit deal at 78% amid a more optimistic tone surrounding trade talks between the UK and European Union on Thursday, according to data from peer-to-peer betting exchange Smarkets.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen told MEPs on Wednesday there was “a path to an agreement now.”

Michael Gove, the UK’s cabinet secretary, told MPs: “Intensive talks are ongoing with both negotiating teams working day and night to reach a deal.”

“Currently, we’re in that tunnel of negotiation and our teams continue to work incredibly hard,” Home Secretary Priti Patel told LBC radio on Thursday morning.

READ MORE: Pound climbs as Barnier hails 'good progress' in Brexit talks

Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, said there had been “good progress” in Brexit talks on Thursday morning. However, the odds fell 11% on Thursday from a high of 89% on Wednesday.

A week ago, the odds predicted that the UK could be on course for a no-deal Brexit after a Brussels summit between UK prime minister Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen failed to deliver progress

Betting markets predict just an 18% chance of the Brexit transition period being extended beyond the deadline of 31 December.

Chart: Smarkets

Sarbjit Bakhshi, Smarkets head of political markets said : “After MPs were told their Christmas break could be curtailed, speculation began that this is due to a potential Brexit deal vote before the end of the year. Although a bill can technically be rushed through both Houses of Parliament before the end of the year, the government needs support from MPs to get it through. There is a healthy 78% chance this morning of a trade deal being struck this year, though this is down from its high of around 89% yesterday.

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“While there are now many areas of agreement between both sides, French concerns over fishing rights remain and may be insurmountable, potentially leading to a series of sector-by-sector deals between the UK and EU from 2021 onwards. However, with the UK economy under increasing strain from the coronavirus pandemic, and World Trade Organisation tariffs causing logistical problems at ports, Britain's 2021 negotiating position would be much worse than it is now.

“With this in mind, any last-minute concessions made by Boris Johnson's negotiating team will be more palatable to the Conservative party in parliament, and should make getting the Commons' and Lords' support an easier proposition than it was a year ago.”

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