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Sterling slipped against the dollar as stalled Brexit talks and further signs of damage to Britain’s economy from the coronavirus pandemic took some shine off the currency’s gains in April.

Sterling registered a 1.4% gain against the dollar in April, rallying hard last week. But with speculators turning negative on the pound for the first time since December 2019, analysts say the currency’s near-term future looks gloomy.

A source close to Britain’s negotiating team said the country was confident it could get a deal on future ties with the European Union if Brussels started treating it as an independent negotiator.

But, underlining what sources in Brussels say is an impasse at talks since Britain left the EU in January, French officials later reiterated the 27-nation bloc’s position that London must make concessions for a deal to be reached this year.

The two sides have been unable to find any compromise on three main areas – the so-called level playing field guarantees of fair competition, governance and fisheries policy, according to the sources in Brussels and London.

Despite the coronavirus outbreak, Britain has said it will not ask for an extension to this year’s transition period. Negotiators have until the end of the year to negotiate a trade deal.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain was past the peak of its coronavirus outbreak and promised to set out a plan next week on how it might start gradually returning to normal life.

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