Betting exchange company Smarkets puts the chance of a UK-EU trade deal being made this year at an all-time high of 86%.
This means Smarkets users see it as highly unlikely that the transition period will be extended past this year.
“Betting data suggests that unless the UK presents a brand new deal very soon, we're at the point of taking the one on the table or accepting the UK will leave with no deal,” said Sarbjit Bakhshi, Smarkets head of political markets.
He said that the UK has one month left to sign a new deal with the European Commission before the end of the transition period, and while a last-minute deal is “certainly possible,” any deal beyond the Commission’s mandate would require every country in the EU to pass legislation in their own parliaments by the year’s end.
Smarkets data also showed that the government’s Internal Market bill, relating to trade barriers within the UK, is down to a 20% chance of getting “royal assent” by the end of the year, which would turn it into an act. This “has real implications for any Brexit deal that is struck,” the report said.
It also “suggests that Smarkets users see the UK leaving the EU properly by the end of the year but with border checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK coming in 2021,” said Bakhshi.
Up until Sunday, anxieties about reaching a Brexit trade deal were reaching a fever-pitch as the deadline looms, with ministers across party lines weighing in on the process.
But on Monday via Twitter, EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said that “after technical discussions this weekend, negotiations continue online today... Time is short. Fundamental divergences still remain, but we are continuing to work hard for a deal,” indicating a Brexit deal could be within grasp.
Meanwhile, the head of the European Union's executive on Wednesday said there had been "genuine progress" in Brexit talks but added the risk of the UK leaving the EU without a new trade deal on 31 December remained.
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