The UK has triggered Article 50 by sending a ‘notification of withdrawal’ letter to the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk. It sets in a motion a two-year ticking clock in which tough and fraught negotiations are expected to be held.
Retail sales value fell annually for the first time since November 2011 in the three months to the end of February by 0.2%. The figures do not include food. This indicates that consumer confidence is slowing due to price rises. The fall in Sterling has resulted in higher inflation and therefore higher prices.
Barclaycard reported that discretionary spending has fallen to the lowest rate for 7 months.
Office values in the most premium parts of London are expected to fall in the short-term by nearly 20% in a report issued by Deutsche Bank. However the Bank expects the market to recover strongly from 2019 onwards. Investment in offices in London fell by 17% in 2016.
12% of the UK’s construction industry is made up of foreign employees, mainly from the EU. The industry currently employs 2.1m. There is concern that the sector will suffer staff shortages following Brexit.
First-time buyers taking out mortgages has reached its highest level since 2007 when the Bank of England began record-keeping. 22% of loans approved were to First Time Buyers in Q4 2016. The value of mortgages for Q4 2016 were down by 2.6% to £62.8bn when compared to Q3 and 0.4% YoY. Mortgage approvals for FTB’s increased 9% in January 2017 when compared to the same period one year previously.
UK inflation for February was higher than expected at 2.3%. Predictions were around the 2.1% mark and is far higher than January’s 1.8%. Inflation is now at its highest level since September 2013 as the effects of Brexit bite with rises in food and fuel. Wage growth slowed to 2.2%.
Manufacturers are expecting their output to grow at its fastest level in 22 years as the drop in the value of the Sterling has made the sector more competitive on an international scale. Manufacturing accounts for 10% of the economy. 25% of businesses have above-normal orderbooks compared to before the vote to leave the EU. 16% of businesses have reported below-normal levels of orders.
Dyson has reported a 41% rise in core profits as its revenues tripled in China, Indonesia and the Philippines during 2016. Dyson recently committed £2.5bn towards investment in cutting-edge technology. Dyson launched their bagless vacuum cleaners 25 years ago but now just over half of their business is generated by vacuum cleaner sales. Manufacturing is carried on in Malaysia with R&D carried on in the UK.