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Britain’s pound was the biggest mover in otherwise quiet trade among the G10 group of currencies, falling broadly as caution grew among investors awaiting the outcome of Brexit trade deal talks that have come down to the wire.

With only three weeks to go for Britain to fully complete its exit from the European Union, leaders have failed to narrow differences on a post-Brexit trade deal.

Investors grew increasingly jittery at the start of the week, pushing sterling more than two cents lower against the dollar on Monday after news that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson would travel to Brussels this week for what some say will be a last roll of the dice to secure a trade deal.

Sterling has demonstrated that there has been a shift in confidence surrounding a Brexit trade deal in the past few days.

Implied volatility on the pound – a measure of expected future swings in the currency – hit 8-month highs, a sign that traders were bracing themselves for gyrations.

The fact that Johnson will travel to meet von der Leyen later this week means that all is not lost with respect to a deal.

However, given that the issues of fisheries and level playing field have been in the spotlight for so long, it may be a bit of a long shot to expect that they can suddenly find a new angle to compromise on.

Elsewhere, concern at surging coronavirus cases in the United States cast a shadow over optimism about vaccinations and fiscal support for the U.S. economy – sapping bulls’ momentum.

California has shut all but critical infrastructure and retail operations in its worst-hit areas as U.S. COVID-19 infections are at their peak, with an average of 193,863 new cases reported each day over the past week.

Britain began the mass-vaccination of its population against COVID-19 this morning, becoming the first Western nation to do so in a global endeavour that poses one of the biggest logistical challenges in peacetime history.

On a day dubbed “V-Day”, health workers started inoculating people with a shot developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.

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