U.K. business confidence hits a seven-year low ahead of Brexit

  • Economy Premium
  • Thursday, 28 Feb 2019

LONDON: Brexit continues to take a toll on the U.K., with new figures showing a fall in business confidence and continued weakness in the property market. House price-growth remained tepid in February, with values rising just 0.4 percent from a year earlier. 

That’s better than the 0.1 percent figure in January, but far below the pace recorded in 2018. 

The stress of leaving the European Union without a settled plan for future ties with the U.K.’s biggest trading partner is taking its toll. Prime Minister Theresa May this week conceded that exit day may need to be postponed as she tries to get her withdrawal deal through Parliament. 

While that uncertainty is also hitting the housing market, a shortage of homes, record employment and low interest rates are preventing a sharp downturn in prices.

“Indicators of housing market activity, such as the number of property transactions and the number of mortgages approved for house purchase, have remained broadly stable in recent months, but survey data suggests that sentiment has softened.” said Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist.

A separate report from Lloyds published Thursday showed a gauge of optimism among firms plunged to a seven-year low as fewer companies expected activity to increase. Consumer confidence is still close to the lowest since 2013, a separate GfK gauge showed.

“The continuing depressed sentiment towards the general economic situation might point towards the calm before the storm of post-Brexit headwinds and potential negative economic outcomes,” said Joe Staton, client strategy director at GfK. 

“It is frankly amazing that confidence is so stoic and stable in a world of sharp political instability and fear of the unknown.” - Bloomberg

Article type: metered
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights



Next In Business News

Bitcoin extends downtrend, falls 12.1% to US$47,176 Premium
Perodua targets to deliver 30,000 units in December Premium
CPO futures likely to trade higher next week Premium
Georgieva says examining all IMF research processes to ensure integrity Premium
Oil steadies, paring gains as rising COVID cases spur demand worries Premium
Omicron-fuelled volatility deals hedge funds worst monthly return since March 2020 Premium
US-listed Chinese shares take a hit as Didi to exit NYSE Premium
Didi shares plunge more than 20% on plan to delist from NYSE Premium
Wall St ends lower on Omicron worries, Fed taper angst Premium
Micro impact of new variant? Premium

Others Also Read