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UK economy gets World Cup lift despite Brexit uncertainty

UK economy gets World Cup lift
The UK financial system skilled a pointy pick-up in consumption, significantly of food and drinks, throughout July, when temperatures soared and Harry Kane led his England workforce to the ultimate 4 in Russia.
Getty Photos/Christopher Furlong

LONDON — A spike in shopper spending pushed by heat climate and England’s shock advance to the semifinals of the soccer World Cup helped the British financial system put up its finest development in almost two years throughout the third quarter, official figures confirmed Friday.

Nevertheless, the zero.6 p.c quarterly price is probably not sustainable. It was largely reliant on a pointy pick-up in consumption, significantly of food and drinks, throughout July, when temperatures commonly surpassed 30 levels Celsius (86 levels Fahrenheit) and Harry Kane led his England workforce to the ultimate 4 in Russia.

The financial system then stagnated throughout August and September, suggesting it stays hobbled by concerns surrounding the Brexit process.

The third-quarter efficiency recorded by the Workplace for Nationwide Statistics was the very best for the reason that fourth quarter of 2016, simply after the nation voted to go away the European Union. It additionally implies that Britain’s development outpaced the zero.2 p.c quarterly tick recorded by the 19-country eurozone throughout the identical interval.

Britain’s chancellor of the exchequer, Philip Hammond, mentioned the figures present the “underlying power” of the British financial system.

“We’re constructing an financial system that works for everybody, with three.three million extra individuals in work, decrease unemployment in each a part of the nation, and wages rising at their quickest tempo in virtually a decade,” he mentioned.

What occurs subsequent, as Hammond has conceded, relies upon largely on the end result of the Brexit discussions between the British authorities and the EU.

There are studies deal could also be struck as quickly as subsequent week however there stay questions as as to whether British Prime Minister Theresa Could will be capable to get sufficient lawmakers in Parliament to approve it. If lawmakers reject it, issues would swell that Britain might crash out of the EU in March with no deal on future relations and no transition interval to these new preparations. In that state of affairs, tariffs could be positioned on commerce with the 27 different EU nations, border checks could be reinstalled, and restrictions might hit vacationers and staff.

For the reason that Brexit vote of June 2016, British customers have largely turn out to be extra cautious about spending, partly because of an increase in costs generated by the pound’s fall. A latest pick-up in wages ought to assist shore up shopper spending over coming months — within the absence of any Brexit shock.

Companies have additionally been cautious of investing in gentle of the uncertainty across the financial system, and Friday’s figures confirmed a 3rd straight quarterly fall.

Many economists think it won’t become clear before next year what Brexit means for the financial system and that many corporations will enact contingency plans over the approaching months, which might hit funding and hiring.

“We expect the financial system has a difficult few months forward of it,” mentioned James Smith, an economist at ING.

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