Bank of England Governor Michael Carney backed Theresa May’s drafted Brexit deal this morning when addressing the UK Parliament, stating that the deal would support economic outcomes and increase certainty levels for business. The deal includes a guaranteed transition period up to 2020 which allows companies some breathing room while working out how to handle their affairs, including spending and investing in the UK.
- Carney stated that the potential to improve the economy with the deal was limited with “uncomfortably high” risks, but that it was favorable to the “hard Brexit” approach with no transition period.
- A Monetary Policy Committee member stated that lower interest rates would solve nothing.
- BoE officials forecast the UK economy in Q4 to be weaker than in Q3 (which saw 0.6% growth) based on current economic data.
- Carney’s comments are significant to the markets as international traders try to strategize through the turmoil created by Brexit.
- The UK Manufacturing Index came in healthy with a reading of +10 compared to -6 the month before, showing a positive trend reversal that indicates goods are still in demand.
Michael Carney would not be drawn into giving a definitive answer regarding UK interest rates, saying it depended on the overall Brexit outcome. He firmly stated that a “no-deal” Brexit would be a “real economy shock” and pointed out that the central bank would be on the sidelines in this scenario with limited power to steer things in the right direction. Carney went so far as to say that a no-deal Brexit could be as bad as the 2008 financial crisis, predicting house prices falling up to 35% over three years and double-digit unemployment percentages.
Equally, the central bank governor could not answer whether the UK would increase its stimulus program of buying treasuries in the incidence of a no-deal Brexit.
A UK cabinet minister said “The worse-than-no-deal scenario was very concerning, but it prompted a lot of broad agreement on the steps that we would need to take next to support the British economy in the event of leaving the EU on poor terms.”
CBI Chief Economist Rain Newton-Smith said the overwhelming message from business to the Government is to make progress, don’t go backwards. We need frictionless trade for our world-beating manufactured goods and a transition period which draws us back from the cliff edge. Anything less than that and jobs and investment could suffer.
In London the FTSE closed 53 lower with a 0.75% drop while the DOW closed with a major 586 point drop which erased all the gains from this year. The German DAX is down, as are commodities like oil and Bitcoin, showing great uncertainty in the international markets.
Gold, however, has held recent inter-week gains and is currently trading at $1,221.20/oz with a moderate 0.15% drop on the day.