While investors have been preparing for a Brexit deal as early as next week, official briefings on Thursday and Friday are expected to cause volatility. On Thursday, the pound fell as global markets turned cautious after a “media report that EU leaders will demand the European Commission publish its plans for what will happen if there is no deal,” Reuters reported.

On Thursday, EU leaders will address outstanding issues like fisheries and “level playing field” provisions as they meet via a video call. Executive Vice President of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis said: "We're in the final push. There are still important elements to be resolved, substantial work to do. We've seen many deadlines come and go but there's one we'll not be able to move - Jan 1. We're now in the last moments."

Bloomberg News reported that a new trade agreement between the UK and Canada, could come as early as Thursday: “Reports that the UK and Canada are very close to reaching a post-Brexit trade deal are undoubtedly good news for both economies, but with time dangerously running out on a EU-UK trade deal, sterling is struggling to react positively to the news.”

Thursday and Friday to create pound volatility

The Sun newspaper’s Nick Gutteridge said that France will be determined to retain its access to UK waters post-Brexit and if it does not move on fisheries this could create more anxiety for markets. The UK is said to expect a final push from various leaders in the summit as they put more pressure on the UK for more concessions. Thursday’s summit might have a negative impact on the pound as markets reconsider the possibility of a deal.

On Friday, EU Chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier will brief European representatives of the EU's 27 member states, and markets will be closely watched for any signs of a deal. UK Chief Negotiator David Frost had told Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday that a deal was possible as early as next week.

How the pound will react?

“Observers still expect a deal early next week or in the first week of December. Market participants are similarly not that concerned over the risk of No Deal Brexit at this point in time,” wrote MUFG strategist Lee Hardman. “There is likely to be a much larger pound move to the downside if both sides fail to reach a deal (-5% to -10%), while we expect a modest move to the upside for the pound if a deal is finalized (+1% to +4%),” he said.

Analysts at UBS noted that there will be a "meaningful bounce" in the Pound if a deal is signed: "The latest news flow points to an agreement being struck just in time for ratification by the EU Parliament. Given markets - and hedge funds specifically - are relatively under-positioned for such an outcome, we’d expect a meaningful bounce for GBP on even a confirmed ‘skinny deal’ outcome." But a positive outcome also means good news for the pound and the UK economy which they tend to benefit if the global economy is doing well. The UBS analyst stated: "This is intuitive given the degree of openness of the UK economy and bodes well for a recovery in global growth into 2021. Naturally, the link has weakened since the 2016 referendum, but cheap valuations offer some hope of at least a partial snap-back in compensation. And the UK economy stands to benefit more than most in 2021 as it was hit particularly hard by this year’s pandemic.”

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