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UK unlikely to secure trade deals to minimise Brexit disruptions

May will attempt to seek alternative and legally binding arrangements with Brussels on the Irish backstop issue.

Theresa May could call it a day on her premiership

Theresa May is due to meet with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk for showdown talks on the Northern Irish backstop, seeking legally binding changes to the Brexit withdrawal agreement.

The UK prime minister has a tough job on her hands as Tusk yesterday, 6 February said there was a “special place in hell” for those who campaigned for Brexit without a plan to deliver it.

In the background, the Bank of England (BoE) will announce its latest interest rate decision at 12:00 (GMT). While the BoE is expected to keep rates on hold at 0.75 per cent, investors will keep a keen eye on the minutes from the meeting, as well as Mark Carney’s press conference at 12:30. The BoE governor is likely to voice concerns over a no-deal Brexit, especially after weak business confidence data released early this week.

However, business confidence could weaken further. In a meeting with 30 business representatives, the UK Department for International Trade admitted yesterday that the country would not reach trade deals with most non-EU countries before the Brexit deadline on 29 March. While agreements with Israel, Switzerland and some African nations would be in place before Brexit, there was no certainty about other deals, which could have a significant disruption to UK supply chains.

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