With 16 days to go punters make it just a 22% chance that UK will leave the EU by the end of the month

October 15th, 2019

Chart of movements on the Betfair exchange from betdata.io

The big news for those betting on whether there will be an exit from the EU this month within the Article 50 deadline is that the market rates the chances of a deal this week as being less likely.

What we should read into that is hard to say. The EU has a long history of things going right to the wire and there must be just a possibility that something can be agreed. This has been going on for so long that many leaders just want it over.

Clearly Johnson has made concessions and that creates its own risks. You can see Nigel Farage attacking whatever comes out as being BINO – Brexit in Name Only.

The Independent is reporting that no agreement is possible before this week’s summit. Its report notes:

Spanish foreign minister Josep Borrell, who is set to take over as the EU’s foreign affairs chief, meanwhile told reporters outside a meeting in Luxembourg that there might be a need to “stop the watch” and ask for more time.

“You know, in Europe, we always take decisions on the edge of the precipice, on the edge of the cliff,” he said. “Even when the last minute comes, then we stop the watch and say that we need technically more time to fulfil all the requirements, all the last minute requirements.

From the PM’s perspective he has to ensure that his “do or die” pledge to leave the EU on October 31 doesn’t damage him or his party if it proves not to be possible. Whether or not he was being foolhardy in using that rhetoric it certainly added to the sense of urgency which might give a benefit.

Domestically the real danger to the Brexiteers is the growing clamour for a confirmatory referendum which we’ve discussed in previous threads.

Mike Smithson