Sterling rallies as EU's Barnier says UK Brexit deal 80-85 percent agreed

  • Barnier said 80-85 percent of the withdrawal deal was agreed.
  • The pound hit $1.3206, a fresh 3-1/2 month high and strengthened 0.2 percent versus the euro to trade at 87.31 pence.
Michel Barnier, chief negotiator for the preparation and conduct of the negotiations with the UK under Article 50 of the Treaty on EU gives a press conference at the European Commission on December 6, 2016.
EMMANUEL DUNAND | AFP | Getty Images
Michel Barnier, chief negotiator for the preparation and conduct of the negotiations with the UK under Article 50 of the Treaty on EU gives a press conference at the European Commission on December 6, 2016.

Sterling rose half a percent to trade above $1.32 on Wednesday after European Union Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier signalled progress on a deal with the UK over its withdrawal from the bloc, as well as on the crucial Irish border question.

Barnier said 80-85 percent of the withdrawal deal was agreed.

He also said the European Union wants to carry out Irish border checks after Brexit "in the least intrusive way possible". The Irish border has been a key sticking point in Brexit talks.

The pound hit $1.3206, a fresh 3-1/2 month high and strengthened 0.2 percent versus the euro to trade at 87.31 pence.