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The pound has fallen to its lowest level against the euro in more than six weeks, as traders reacted to the growing prospect of a no-deal Brexit.

In late afternoon trading in London, sterling was about 1% down against the single European currency at €1.098.

It also lost ground against the dollar, falling 0.83% to $1.3325.

UK-EU trade talks have entered a critical stage as they bid to reach a post-Brexit deal before 31 December, when the UK's transition period ends.

Disputes over fishing and business rules remain, with the UK government saying discussions in Brussels have reached "a critical moment".

The EU mood was described as "gloomy" as chief negotiator Michel Barnier met UK counterpart Lord Frost.

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier and his UK counterpart Lord Frost are still locked in talks.

Cabinet Office minister Penny Mordaunt told the House of Commons: "We are at a critical moment in the negotiations."

She added: "We are all working to get a deal, but the only way that's possible is if it's compatible with our sovereignty and takes back control of our country's trade and waters."

Post-Brexit trade talks 'at critical stage'

Asked when the cut-off point for a deal was, a European Commission spokesman said: "We are not going to speculate on a last-chance date.

"We are fully committed to substantial negotiations. We've always said and continue to say it's the substance that prevails over timing."

Earlier, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney described the EU negotiating team's frame of mind as "gloomy" and "downbeat".

The FTSE 100 share index drifted in and out of positive territory during the day, and finished virtually flat at 6,555 points.

Investors are also awaiting an EU summit starting on Thursday to break an impasse over a 1.8 trillion-euro coronavirus aid package, as well as the last European Central Bank policy meeting of the year on the same day.