The British pound jumped sharply Wednesday after the European Union's top Brexit negotiator said the bloc was willing to offer the U.K. an unprecedented partnership. "We are prepared to offer a partnership with Britain such as has never been with any other third country," Michel Barnier said, according to Reuters , but added that the EU would not agree to anything that weakened the single market. The pound /zigman2/quotes/210561263/realtime/sampled GBPUSD -0.8360% last traded at $1.2970 versus the dollar, a gain of 0.8% from its level of $1.2872 late Monday in New York. The pound remains down 1.1% versus the dollar so far this month and has declined 3.9% in the year to date. The FTSE 100 stock index /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX -3.38% was off 0.8% at 7,554.66, hitting a session low as the currency jumped. A stronger pound can be a headwind for export-oriented U.K. companies, making their products more expensive to foreign buyers.
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British pound rallies on positive Brexit remarks from EU official