UK, EU to agree free-trade deal, October 31 Brexit date in doubt - Reuters poll | Eurasia Diary -

18 July, Thursday

UK, EU to agree free-trade deal, October 31 Brexit date in doubt - Reuters poll

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Britain will eventually leave the European Union and agree a free-trade deal with the bloc, according to the vast majority of economists polled by Reuters who were, however, split on whether the two sides would divorce on Oct. 31.

Prime Minister Theresa May failed to get her Withdrawal Agreement ratified by the British parliament on three attempts so the EU allowed a Brexit delay until the end of October, giving May time to try to convince lawmakers to reach agreement.

When asked if the latest deadline - delayed from March 29 - would be extended, 17 of 33 economists who answered an extra question in the May 3-10 Reuters poll said it would not.

“Failure to come to an agreement runs the risk that the EU will simply lose patience in October and not grant any extension,” said Peter Dixon at Commerzbank.

“We are by no means out of the woods.”

But the median forecast in the latest survey gave the chance of a disorderly Brexit - where no deal is agreed and an outcome Reuters polls have repeatedly said would be harmful to both sides - at 15%, as it was in March and April.

Only one of 50 respondents gave a probability above 50%.

Still, as they have in all Reuters polls since late 2016 most economists said the two sides would settle on a free-trade deal. The second most likely outcome was again Britain as a member of the European Economic Area, paying into the EU budget to maintain access to the EU’s single market.

In third spot was Brexit being cancelled - once more ahead of Britain leaving without an agreement and trading under World Trade Organization rules, which came last.

“All options remain on the table in the UK, including no Brexit, a hard Brexit and even another extension beyond October,” said Kallum Pickering at Berenberg.

READ ALSO: France does not want repeated Brexit delays - Presidential adviser

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