Germany reportedly wants Northern Ireland to stay in the customs union indefinitely

In Europe the outlook for trade growth has worsened as the pan-European STOXX 600 index slipped 0.3%, on news that a Brexit deal may be impossible.

As ongoing Brexit discussions near the current deadline of 31 October differences appear irresolvable according to a Downing street source, following an intransigent response from the EU to recent UK proposals.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has reportedly told Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson that Northern Ireland must effectively stay in the European Union’s customs union indefinitely if any deal is to be considered.

“If this represents a new established position then it means a deal is essentially impossible not just now but ever,” the Downing Street source said. “It also made clear that they are willing to torpedo the Good Friday Agreement.”

Germany’s trade-sensitive DAX was among the biggest decliners on the STOXX 600, while the UK’s London Stock Exchange also slid on news that Hong Kong’s bourse had withdrawn its bid for a takeover.

In its rejection LSE management stated the proposed bid was “substantially short” of an appropriate valuation. Shareholders favoured instead LSE’s planned takeover of  US financial data provider Refinitiv.