European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said Thursday that the high stakes for the post-Brexit economy make it likely Britain and the European Union eventually will reach a deal on the breakup.
"When we do the calculation of how badly the UK on the one hand, (and) the European Union, on the other hand would be hurt by a no-deal situation, it's crystal clear that there has to be a deal," Lagarde said during a debate on the global economy during the virtual IMF annual meetings.
She said she is optimistic about the chances even if the final deal might be inked "three minutes before midnight."
But the central bank chief cautioned that there are "very sizable egos" involved and remaining differences over sectoral issues.
The statements come as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson threatens to halt negotiations, while EU leaders were meeting in Brussels on Thursday and called on London to make the "necessary moves" to make an agreement possible on the post-Brexit relationship.