UK reports slowest growth in six years with no-deal Brexit looming

The British economic system grew at its slowest tempo in six years in 2018, information confirmed Monday, as Brexit uncertainty grips the nation and fears improve that Britain might crash out of the EU and not using a deal.

The awful official figures got here because the British authorities seeks to win extra time to safe EU concessions on Brexit that might move the UK parliament and avert a chaotic break up from the bloc on March 29.

Companies are on edge with Britain simply weeks away from its scheduled departure from the European challenge after 46 years and nonetheless with no agency preparations in place.

The parliament in London final month roundly rejected a Brexit deal Prime Minister Theresa Might had sealed with the remaining 27 EU leaders.

Monday’s figures adopted information final week that confirmed Britain’s dominant service sector virtually floor to a halt in January.

“The economic system is clearly struggling within the first quarter of 2019 amid critical enterprise and shopper warning ensuing from heightened Brexit uncertainties whereas weaker world development can also be impacting” the figures, famous Howard Archer, chief financial advisor on the EY ITEM Membership.

Final yr gross home product development stood at 1.four per cent, down from 1.eight per cent in 2017, the Workplace for Nationwide Statistics mentioned Monday.

Progress was solely 0.2 per cent within the final three months of 2018, the ONS mentioned in an announcement.

“Building, manufacturing and providers output fell within the month (of December), the primary time that there was such a broad-based fall in month-to-month output since September 2012,” the ONS mentioned.

Britain has been in a state of political turmoil for 2 months for the reason that Brexit deal was agreed in December.

In an incident heavy with symbolism, components of parliament have been cordoned off Monday after a big piece of masonry fell onto a parked car over the weekend.

600,000 jobs beneath menace

In the meantime, in Luxembourg, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier referred to as for “readability and motion” from Britain.

He additionally mentioned British opposition chief Jeremy Corbyn’s proposal for a everlasting customs union with the EU was an “fascinating” one.

To interrupt the deadlock, Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay hosted Barnier for a working dinner on the British ambassador’s residence in Brussels on Monday, with concern rising on each side of the Channel.

Learn Extra: British PM May to visit Brussels in search of a Brexit deal

Researchers on the IWH Institute in Halle, jap Germany on Monday mentioned a no-deal Brexit might put 600,000 jobs world wide in danger, with Germany the toughest hit.

The institute examined what would occur if UK imports from the remaining EU fell 25 per cent after Brexit.

They reckoned some 103,000 jobs could be beneath menace in Germany, Europe’s largest economic system, with the automotive trade the worst affected sector.

International development slowdown

Monday’s financial information got here after the Financial institution of England final week slashed its forecast for UK development this yr to 1.2 per cent from 1.7 per cent, blaming the downgrade on a world financial slowdown and “the fog of Brexit”.

The Financial institution of England warned that Britain’s financial output was being dragged down with development dampening in China, america and the eurozone.

Analysts reacting to Monday’s information echoed the purpose.

“Brexit uncertainty is definitely not serving to issues on the financial entrance, however it’s most likely solely a secondary issue on this slowdown, with the first trigger being a drop in general world exercise,” mentioned David Cheetham, chief market analyst at XTB buying and selling group.

Learn Extra: UK economy flat-lines as Brexit nears, firms cut jobs: PMI

The pound fell in opposition to the euro and greenback in response to Monday’s development information.

“We should warning in opposition to blaming all on Brexit – world cooling is having the largest dampening impact on all main economies at current – though we should observe that (UK) enterprise funding is collapsing,” mentioned Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com.

London’s benchmark FTSE 100 shares index, which options many multinationals, was nevertheless greater on hopes of a breakthrough in US-China commerce talks.

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