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Pound resilient ahead of crunch EU summit

The EU and UK are close to a pivotal point in Brexit talks amid growing concerns over no deal.

UK services industry takes limelight ahead of US vote

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has said a Brexit deal was “still achievable” and called for “cool heads” as the UK and European Union are still far from a deal.

Ahead of a crunch two-day summit of the EU leaders this Wednesday, 17 October, Brussels has given the UK 24 hours to settle its position on Brexit and warned a no deal is “more likely than ever before”.

The week is likely to be dominated by Brexit headlines, but focus today turns to the health of the UK labour market. Unemployment remained at the lowest level in 40 years as economists had forecast, but average earnings rose to 3.1 per cent in August. The Pound continued to strengthen and reached 1.3209 against the Dollar following the data release .

In the US, retail sales rose more slowly than expected in September as a rebound in car sales was offset by a substantial fall in spending at restaurants and bars. After a slowdown in August, economists had forecast an uplift in September, but the pace of growth eased to 0.1 per cent against the expected 0.6 per cent. Following the data release, the Dollar Index, a basket of the greenback against its peers, hit a two-week low of 94.96.

Finally, Italy has approved the long-awaited 2019 expansionary budget, which sets out a basic income for the poor, lowers the retirement age and offers a partial amnesty to settle tax disputes. The 2.4 per cent of public spending plan is below the EU’s 3 per cent ceiling but above the targeted 1.8 per cent. All eyes now turn to Brussels, which has previously asked Rome to narrow the deficit to zero.

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