LONDON (Reuters) - The Bank of England said Brexit uncertainty and slower world economic growth were increasingly causing Britain’s economy to perform below its potential, and that a failure to reach a deal to leave the European Union by Oct. 31 would worsen the problem. All nine members of the BoE’s Monetary Policy Committee voted to keep rates on hold at 0.75% and reiterated their warnings that a no-deal Brexit risked hitting sterling and damaging growth. But their policy minutes for the first time gave an explicit warning about the impact of a further Brexit delay, saying “entrenched uncertainty” about the terms on which Britain would leave the EU would also cause harm, albeit on a smaller scale. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has vowed to take Britain out of the EU by Oct. 31, without a transition deal if necessary. But parliament has ordered him to delay departure if he cannot broker a fresh agreement with the EU that parliament also backs. “Political events could lead to a furt..
(Reuters) - Britons would prefer Liberal Democrats over the Labour Party in a potential general election, according to a new YouGov poll for The Times newspaper. The poll puts the Liberal Democrats’ support at 23%, up four points from last week, and the Labour Party at 21%, two points down. The Conservative Party is at 32%, unchanged from a week ago, the poll showed. It is the first time the Labour Party has been in third place since July. Half of those who backed Labour in the 2017 election are sticking with the party, with a quarter going to the Liberal Democrats and 9% backing Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, according to the poll.
LONDON (Reuters) - Consumer prices in Britain rose last month at the slowest rate since December 2016, a pre-Brexit boost to the spending power of households who are also seeing the fastest wage growth in 11 years. Prices of goods and services paid by consumers rose at an annual rate of 1.7% in August after a 2.1% increase in July, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said on Wednesday. A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a rate of 1.9%. Separate ONS figures showed British house prices rose in July by just 0.7% in annual terms, the smallest rise since 2012, as weakness in the London market spread to other parts of England. Overall, the fall in inflation should boost households whose spending has fuelled the economy while businesses cut investment ahead of the Oct. 31 deadline for leaving the European Union. The drop came despite a sharp fall in the value of sterling in August as the Brexit crisis escalated, although it took more than a year for inflation to peak after t..
BOURNEMOUTH, England (Reuters) - The Lib Dems face the fight of their lives to rescue the country from the negative effects of leaving the EU, party leader Jo Swinson said on Tuesday, outlining the battle for hearts and minds in the next few weeks. As the clock ticks down to Britain’s scheduled exit from the European Union on Oct. 31, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has yet to agree a deal with Brussels. That has raised the prospect of an unmanaged, no-deal exit - something Johnson says his government is preparing for, but which opponents of Brexit say will wreak havoc on Britain’s $2.8 trillion (£2.26 trillion) economy. Swinson has already used her party’s annual conference to toughen its anti-Brexit stance, promising to cancel Brexit if the Liberal Democrats score an unlikely victory in a widely expected early election. On Tuesday, the 39-year-old Scot who became the party’s first female leader in July, used her closing conference speech to set out the challenge the party faces. “A..
LONDON (Reuters) - If Britain falls into recession soon, perhaps after a no-deal Brexit, it might prove to be a lengthy one because the country’s financially stretched households are unlikely to be able to lead a recovery. Britain’s household savings rate - a measure of how much households save from their disposable income - stands close to record low levels. Households have also been net borrowers for 10 quarters in a row, an unprecedented stretch in records dating back to the 1960s. Their lack of financial headroom could spell trouble if a downturn hits, whether triggered by events at home or abroad. “If a global economy side-swipe happens, households haven’t got those rainy-day funds to use,” Simon French, chief economist at merchant bank Panmure Gordon, said. Bank of England policymaker Gertjan Vlieghe has said he was “concerned” that the low household savings rate could leave households vulnerable to shocks to their income or employment. The data show why. Many factors dete..
LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) - Britain’s Boris Johnson said on Monday that a Brexit deal was beginning to emerge, but the EU said he offered nothing to break the impasse during a visit to Luxembourg where he was harangued loudly by protesters and rebuked for trying to shift the blame. “Don’t make the EU the bad guy,” Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said after a meeting with Johnson, describing the uncertainty over the timing and conditions of Britain’s exit from the European Union as a “nightmare”. The British prime minister joined European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker for lunch at the Bouquet Garni restaurant, an 18th-century building of bare stone walls and low ceilings in the medieval heart of Luxembourg. A British official said their lunch included pan-cooked chicken oysters and butter-roasted pollock with creamy risotto. Johnson was heckled from start of his visit with dozens of Britons - many of them retirees living in Luxembourg - booing, chanting and holding ban..
LONDON (Reuters) - Asking prices for houses in Britain have suffered their first September fall in nine years as worries about Brexit caused buyers to hesitate and sellers to keep properties off the market, property website Rightmove said on Monday. The average price of property being put up for sale fell by 0.2%, or 730 pounds, from August, breaking the pattern of consistent monthly price rises for the month of September since 2010, Rightmove said. Rightmove director Miles Shipside pointed to uncertainty about Brexit with Britain due to leave the European Union on Oct. 31 and Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying he is prepared for a no-deal Brexit if needed. “Many have got used to living in the jaws of uncertainty since the referendum over three years ago, and have been getting on with their lives and housing moves,” Shipside said. “However, as we approach yet another Brexit deadline, there are signs that the increasing gnashing of teeth is causing some to hesitate.” Shipside said..
LONDON (Reuters) - Asking prices for houses in Britain have suffered their first September fall in nine years as worries about Brexit caused buyers to hesitate and sellers to keep properties off the market, property website Rightmove said on Monday. The average price of property being put up for sale fell by 0.2%, or 730 pounds ($908.92), from August, breaking the pattern of consistent monthly price rises for the month of September since 2010, Rightmove said. Rightmove director Miles Shipside pointed to uncertainty about Brexit with Britain due to leave the European Union on Oct. 31 and Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying he is prepared for a no-deal Brexit if needed. “Many have got used to living in the jaws of uncertainty since the referendum over three years ago, and have been getting on with their lives and housing moves,” Shipside said. “However, as we approach yet another Brexit deadline, there are signs that the increasing gnashing of teeth is causing some to hesitate.” Shi..
LONDON (Reuters) - Barclays (BARC.L) on Monday said it expects to increase its provision for payment protection insurance (PPI) claims by 1.2 billion to 1.6 billion pounds ($1.5 billion to $2 billion). Banks are setting aside more provisions for PPI following a rush of claims against mis-selling of the insurance ahead of the deadline on Aug. 29.
LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson likened himself to the unruly comic book character The Incredible Hulk late on Saturday in a newspaper interview where he stressed his determination to take Britain out of the European Union on Oct. 31. The Mail on Sunday newspaper reported that Johnson said he would find a way to circumvent a recent parliament vote ordering him to delay Brexit rather than take Britain out of the EU without a transition deal to ease the economic shock. “The madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets,” Johnson was quoted as saying. “Hulk always escaped, no matter how tightly bound in he seemed to be - and that is the case for this country. We will come out on October 31.” Britain’s parliament has repeatedly rejected the exit deal Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May negotiated with the EU, and this month rejected leaving without a deal - angering many Britons who voted to leave the bloc more than three years ago. Johnson has said he wants to negotia..