BREXIT: Britain, EU strike financial services deal

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It comes as reports on Thursday suggest that Prime Minister Theresa May has made significant in-roads into securing an agreement for financial services firms to operate across the European Union after March 29.

"Reminder: EU may grant and withdraw equivalence in some financial services autonomously".

"Once the MPC (Monetary Policy Committee) gets the Brexit "green light", we expect two hikes in 2019, in May and November - sooner, and by more, than markets expect".

"We are making progress", the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters, adding that the financial services deal would be based on the EU's existing "equivalence" system.

Britain on Wednesday said there was no set date for Brexit talks to finish, backtracking from a letter by Brexit Minister, Dominic Raab, that suggested a deal on the terms of its departure could be finalised by November 21.

The pound started to rally against the dollar following the publication of the report at midnight (0000 GMT).

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said a disruptive no-deal Brexit was not the central bank's main assumption but if there was a shock to the economy, it was not possible to say if rates would need to rise or fall in response. Therefore. Further trade in established medium-term trends should be expected over coming weeks with sharp spikes higher and lower within that range.

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The bank rate is now at 0.75 percent and Carney said that it would rise "in a limited and gradual fashion" up to 2021 to about 1.5 percent. "Despite remarks by Theresa May's spokesman that the reports over a services deal were speculation, the latest report kept GBP-bulls in the driver's seat", says Charalambos Pissouros, Senior Market Analyst with JFD Brokers.

In the report published by the Times, a potential deal would see to it that neither side would be able to unilaterally decide that the regulations had fallen out of equivalence and block access to their markets.

A major sticking point in the Brexit negotiations continues to be the issue of preventing the return of a hard border between Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland, an European Union member.

"I would be happy to give evidence to the committee when a deal is finalized, and now expect Nov 21 to be suitable", he wrote.

The report comes as Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has been playing down suggestions that a tentative date of November 21 has been set for a Brexit deal to be agreed.

However, Mr Raab's own department later clarified that there was "no set date for the negotiations to conclude".

Analysts said reaching a preliminary services agreement with the European Union could ease May's job of convincing lawmakers to approve any Ireland border deal.