Pound drops on report Johnson could quit Brexit talks ‘within hours’ – live updates – Telegraph.co.uk

Good morning. The FTSE 100 is set to open higher as Brexit talks remain on a “knife edge”.

Talks on fish were “closing in” on a political agreement on Sunday night, but there were warnings that no progress had been made on the far bigger problem of the “level playing field”, meaning the two sides could still end the talks without a deal as early as Monday evening.

5 things to start your day 

1) Ashley makes swoop for Debenhams: The billionaire is seeking to snap up the most valuable parts of the 242-year-old retailer following its collapse into liquidation on Dec 1, in a move likely to revive hopes among Debenhams’ 12,000 staff.

2) Jobs on rise around Britain as business confidence surges on vaccine hope: More than 169,000 jobs were added during November, according to data from Reed, the recruitment firm.

3) Nando’s in crisis talks over £300m debts: The restaurant chain, which operates nearly 400 sites in the UK, is in talks with landlords to secure rent holidays and deferrals.

4) House buyers ignore second lockdown as prices stay stable: House prices held strong in November as estate agents kept their doors open during a second lockdown.

5) Treasury to discuss Covid support plan for directors: Ministers are set to discuss a rescue scheme for directors after business leaders and tax experts drew up detailed plans to help as many as 2m entrepreneurs locked out of Covid support.

What happened overnight 

Shares were mostly lower in Asia on Monday following a report that the US is preparing to slap sanctions on a dozen more Chinese officials, ratcheting up tensions with Beijing.

Benchmarks dropped in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai but rose in Sydney.

After a strong start, Asian shares fell back, especially in China. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 1.7pc to 26,382.06 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo lost 0.8pc to 26,553.85. The Shanghai Composite index sank 0.7pc to 3,421.85.

South Korea’s Kospi was almost unchanged, at 2,732.38 and in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 added 0.4pc to 6,662.70.

Coming up today

Interim results: Ted Baker

Economics: Halifax house price index (UK); GDP (Japan); trade balance (China, Japan); industrial production (Germany)