Britain has reportedly bowed to the EU's conditions on leaving the bloc in an attempt to start its trade talks. The European Commission expects the UK to pay the exit bill when it leaves the EU. According to the Telegraph, it could total to 50 billion pound (56 bln euro, $67 bln). The issue had remained a stumbling block between the parties.
A UK government official, who wished not to disclose his name, later told Reuters that he doubted the credibility of the newspaper suggestion.
Following the reports and amid investor expectations that the Bank of England could increase interest rates, the UK pound continued to appreciate against the US dollar, reaching a two-month peak of $1.3429, its highest level since September 29.
Amid sterling's jump, the UK blue-chip index was down 37 points, (0.5%), at 7,424. Stocks with a high proportion of overseas earnings, like cigarette makers Imperial Brands and British American Tobacco, fell to the bottom of the index, down 2.3% and 1.9% respectively. Companies with a focus on the UK domestic economy, meanwhile, made gains.
In summer of 2016, Britain held a referendum and voted in favor of leaving the EU. In March 2017, the country initiated the official Brexit withdrawal process.
Its negotiations with the EU, however, are currently deadlocked over three issues: how much the UK owes the EU, settlement of the Northern Ireland border issue and the future of the UK citizens living in the EU and EU citizens residing in Britain.
The withdrawal is set to be completed by the end of March, 2019.