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The British pound rose more than 1% yesterday on hopes that Britain could secure a Brexit trade deal with the European Union by October or at least avoid a cliff-edge exit from the bloc.

The EU and Britain kicked off a decisive week of talks on Monday but cautioned that a deal was still some way off.

A final agreement must be reached by the end of December but both sides have set a preliminary deadline for next month as it will take some time to sign off any deal.

The pound’s gains were fuelled by an EU diplomat saying last week that “the mood music was a bit better” after Britain’s Brexit supremo Michael Gove expressed confidence about securing a trade deal.

If discussions this week lead to a breakthrough in fisheries and a level playing field, then we could hopefully land an agreement by Oct. 15.

The dollar held steady against a basket of currencies as financial markets braced for the first U.S. presidential debate, while traders also tracked developments on the U.S. stimulus bill.

All eyes are on the first U.S. presidential election debate where Democrat Joe Biden and Republican Donald Trump will square off later on Tuesday (0100 GMT on Wednesday).

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