PMI Data Shows UK Brexit Fear Has Receded

pmi

Today we saw surprising PMI data released in the US and UK. The UK surprised on the upside with a 53.3 reading, the US surprised on the downside with a 49.4 reading. The €urozone average is 51.7. That puts post-Brexit Britain in gold medal place on the PMI podium…

It is important to understand that the PMI is a survey and reflects the attitude of purchasing managers to the economy and market conditions. Last month UK PMI came in negative and the headlines in the remainstream media were apocalyptic. The reality is business and purchasing managers’ outlook was probably subjectively influenced by George Osborne’s irresponsible “Project Fear” propaganda that the UK would go into immediate recession, require an emergency budget and be attacked by zombies. None of which it now transpires was really true, however it did spook people.

Headlines last month when PMI came in negative were about a dramatic downturn, the FT warned of stagnation and the Indy breathlessly reported the “UK economy shrinking at fastest rate since financial crisis”. Guido doubts we’ll see headlines as dramatically positive tomorrow.

The Bank of England subsequently cut interest rates in a symbolic and probably unnecessary gesture – from 0.5% to 0.25% – a difference which will not animate the economy in any meaningful way. Does today’s PMI number mean Britain’s GDP will conversely now surge? Not really. Not least because China, emerging markets and the €urozone all have economic problems. Brexit is a small factor in the global situation compared to the €uro debt crisis and China’s economic problems, never mind the ever imminent Italian banking crisis…


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