BLED, Slovenia (AP) — The European Union's chief Brexit negotiator says a divorce agreement with Britain by early November is "possible," and that's triggered a big rally in the pound.

At a conference in the Alpine lake resort of Bled in northwestern Slovenia, Michel Barnier said a Brexit deal was "not far" and that some 80 percent of the withdrawal agreement had been agreed.

However, he acknowledged that tough issues remain not least the border between EU member Ireland and Northern Ireland. That's been one of the thorniest issues in the Brexit negotiations.

Barnier refused to comment on the divisions in the governing British Conservative Party over Brexit: "This debate is very intense but I don't want to be involved."

The pound firmed on Barnier's comments, trading 0.9 percent higher at $1.3030.

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