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Sterling sank against the dollar and euro as fears of a second wave of coronavirus hit risk sentiment and global markets, with investors also nervous ahead of a key meeting on Brexit negotiations.

A fresh coronavirus outbreak in China and rising infection numbers in the United States – even as major economies have begun lifting lockdowns – put financial markets on the backfoot at the start of the week, with selling of stocks and risk currencies across the board.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will join a videoconference with EU leaders, keen to make headway in negotiations on a future EU-UK relationship, but officials in Brussels expect no breakthrough in the Brexit deadlock.

Britain’s Mail on Sunday reported that Johnson would use the meeting to “bang the table”, pressing the 27-nation European Union to aim for an agreement by the end of the summer and not to use the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to drag its feet.

However, officials in Brussels said the afternoon discussion with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the heads of the European Council and European Parliament was a long-scheduled stock-taking exercise, not a negotiation.

This week, investors also will look ahead to the Bank of England’s meeting on Thursday, where it is expected to announce a fresh increase of at least 100 billion pounds in its bond-buying firepower.

Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said the British central bank had to be ready to do more to help the country’s economy because of the risk of long-term damage caused by the coronavirus shutdown.

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