Oh, wait. David O’Brien, remoaning Ryanair chief commercial officer, said of his own plans: “Don’t confuse this great news as some sort of vote of confidence in the future of UK aviation, it’s a vote of confidence in Southend airport… [it was not] a reversal of opinion on the merits of Brexit”. Not sure they’re even convincing themselves with that line…
A clear majority of British firms are hungry to trade with non-EU countries outside the customs union post-Brexit, according to a new survey of 500 decision-makers. Most small and medium sized British companies say they are ‘internationally ambitious’ and wish to grow into overseas markets. New research from the International Business Festival finds:
- 74% plan to to increase overseas revenue in the next three years;
- 82% have a clear strategy for future target markets;
- Three quarters of firms describe themselves as ambitious internationally and well-placed to capitalise on global opportunities (77% and 73%).
UK small business underlined its concerns about regulation, which has been identified as the biggest barrier to increasing exports. In addition, businesses want more help making contacts in new markets and mastering technology. The appetite for global trade is strong ‘despite Brexit’. Number 10 needs to make sure we are not tied closely to a customs union that prevents this…
According to the latest Profit Watch report from the Share Centre, Q1 2018 saw:
- Collective profits of UK firms hit record high
- Profits among FTSE 350 increase by 158%
- Sales among FTSE 350 hit three year high, growing by 21%
- 70% of companies had higher profits
- Four fifths of sectors saw higher profits
Helal Miah, investment analyst at The Share Centre, says: “UK plc has delivered the strongest set of results in years, extending a period of growth not seen since the recovery in the immediate aftermath of the recession and financial crisis”. Nothing in the FT on this yet…
We were warned before the referendum by George Osborne, economists, think tanks, the IMF, OECD and investment banks that business confidence would collapse and investment would dry up if Britain voted to Brexit. Last year, the first full year when investors knew Britain would be Brexiting, saw tech investment hit a record with €7.1 billion* raised, a 115% year-on-year increase in investment in the high-tech industries and firms of the future. That is more than France and Germany combined…
Source: a report by technology investment firm GP Bullhound.
London office rentals are soaring according to two separate reports released this week. 2.3 million square feet of office space was let in central London in the three months to March 31, according to estate agent JLL. That’s 14% up on last year and 5% up on the ten year average…
Meanwhile agents CBRE say they have had the strongest first quarter since 2012. The firm estimates more than 9 million square feet of office space is being sought in London. Just last November the FT claimed the future of the London office rental market “looks distinctly grey… Companies are already rushing to secure space elsewhere. European rental markets are booming.” Look forward to their update…
Sterling hit its highest level since the EU referendum today, beating a previous post-Brexit high in January. The pound reached $1.437 this morning. The pound has gained more than 5% against the dollar so far this year…
Analysts are calling the pound “the darling of the currency world”. As the City becomes more bullish on a deal, the Project Fear predictions – not least those of the Treasury – on the long-term weakness of the pound are being disproved. No humility on display, however…
— ONS (@ONS) April 17, 2018
- Unemployment rate falls to 4.2%, lowest since 1975
- Employment rate highest since records began in 1971
- Public sector pay up 2.5%
- Private sector pay up 2.3%
Despite Brexit, or because of Brexit?
An Institute of Directors poll of 700 company directors has found that business confidence has returned to positive for the first time since Article 50 was triggered. The IoD say the transition deal “has brought some much needed reassurance” and that Brexit is no longer even in the top three concerns of business leaders. IoD senior economist Tej Parikh said:
“It seems likely meaningful progress in Brexit negotiations since December has brought some much needed reassurance.”
Expect the remain press to lap this one up…
Britain’s post-Brexit boom continues as UK manufacturers recorded their second-highest levels of profitability ever. According to the Office for National Statistics, net rates of return for manufacturing companies increased from 13.8% in the third quarter of 2017 to 15.8% in the final quarter, marking the second-highest value to date. On top of this, the latest UK Business Outlook from IHS Markit released this morning shows manufacturers are bullish on growth:
“Growth expectations in the manufacturing sector are the highest for more than two and a half years manufacturers cite the improving global economic backdrop and hopes of increased export sales.”
The net balance of UK manufacturers predicting a rise in output is at +58% in February, up on+54% in October 2017. And they said Brexit would crash Britain’s manufacturing sector…
French-owned car giant Vauxhall has announced it will build its new Vivaro van at its Luton plant rather than in Germany or Poland. Parent company PSA is investing tens of millions of pounds in the Bedfordshire facility which will eventually see Citroen and Peugeot branded vans made in the UK rather than in Europe. PSA hopes to hit production levels of 100,000 vans a year bringing new jobs to the town. 1,400 jobs have been secured beyond 2030 after a £9 million contribution from government. Group chief executive Carlos Tavares said:
“This is a major milestone for the future of the Luton plant and a key enabler to serve our ambitions in the commercial vehicle market.”
Remainers have indulged in scaremongering speculation about the future of the UK car industry, including about the Luton plant. Yet another myth busted…
Just days before the referendum StrongerIn played their trump card. Airbus and Siemens publicly warned of the risk that they would leave Britain, if Britain left the EU. It was one of the most credible arguments of Project Fear from CEOs of respected giant industrial firms. Siemens, the bluechip German engineering giant, could go home. Airbus in particular, the champion and political symbol of multi-national cooperation, would probably come under pressure to re-trench. Britain’s multi-billion aerospace industry and engineering base would be at risk.
What actually happened? Siemens’ CEO Joe Kaeser soon announced after the vote he was “confident and optimistic” about the “big opportunities” in Brexit Britain:
“There is no reason not to invest tomorrow, if there is a demand and a commitment from the customer. I am willing – and the company is willing to invest – further. There are more opportunities than risks for us.”
Yesterday brought the icing on the cake, Bloomberg revealed that the Airbus Chief Executive Officer Tom Enders has written to the Business Secretary Greg Clark promising the U.K. government that Airbus plans to retain its British operations “long into the future’’ – this from the most europhile of CEOs. Project Fear’s strongest cards turned out to be bluffs.
The same people who bluffed before now say if Brexit happens it will be a disaster for the economy. Ignore what they say and instead follow the money. Investment banks like Bank of America and Goldman Sachs are spending billions on new headquarters in London, europhile Bloomberg too. The Brexodus of big business is not happening, instead they are investing billions for the long term. Brexit is going to be great…
A special quintuple whammy of #DespiteBrexit good news to brighten up a chilly Monday. Over the weekend US bank Citigroup announced a massive investment in London, its first since the referendum result. They plan to establish an innovation centre with 60 high quality jobs and room for expansion. James Cowles, the bank’s EMEA CEO, told the FT:
“Regardless of Brexit, the UK remains one of the world’s largest pools of diverse talent when it comes to hiring advanced technologists with a strong business background.”
Meanwhile, Bob Dudley of global energy powerhouse BP says Brexit has “not diminished” Britain’s standing on the world stage and is bullish on trade deals. He told The Times:
“There are a lot of countries around the world that would like trade deals with Britain bilaterally down the road, I hear that a lot. I don’t think British influence is diminished. BP works all over the world and I see the importance of Britain in what we do and how they view BP.”
In manufacturing, British engine makers are experiencing an unprecedented boom and production is at an all-time high. According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders:
- British engine manufacturing rose 6.9% to all-time high of 2.7 million units in 2017;
- Home demand is up 9.7%, while global demand rose to almost 1.5 million units;
UK engine manufacturing is now worth £8.5 billion, supporting 8,000 British jobs. Brexit an engine for British growth…
Remember when Project Fear said Brexit would threaten Britain’s reputation as an outward-looking, welcoming nation? Remainers suggested international visitors to the UK, students, for instance, would be put-off. In fact, a record number of foreign students now want to study at British universities. According to UCAS figures:
- International student applications are up 11% to 58,450;
- Applications from China rose by 20%;
- Applications from India rose by 36%;
- Applications from Mexico surged by 52%.
And the value of UK food and drink exports has soared to record levels, up 10% to reach £22 billion in 2017 – more than double what they were worth ten years ago. British food and drink producers now sell to 217 countries. Sales of milk and cream increased by 61%, salmon by 23% and pork by 14%. And, as Liz Truss famously predicted, we’ve sold cheese to the French (£85 million), chocolate to the Belgians (£21 million) and tea to the Chinese (£2 million). Five new pieces of good news, #DespiteBrexit…
The Bank of England has upgraded its growth forecast for 2018 to 1.8%, up from 1.6%. Remember the Treasury said we would be in recession by now. Anyone really believe they didn’t fiddle the figures?
Sterling climbed back above the $1.40 benchmark today in a sign the currency is strengthening after Brexit. The pound is one of the strongest performing currencies so far in 2018. The pound touched $1.20 this time last year but has since recovered. Thomas Flury at UBS told the Financial Times:
“It looks like the pound is becoming increasingly resilient . . . Markets have probably become more confident that a cliff-edge Brexit in 2019 will be avoided.”
Next time a remainer brings up the value of the pound…
Barely a week into 2018 the #DespiteBrexit crowd are already being confounded by strong economic indicators. First news from the ONS that hourly labour productivity showed its biggest increase since 2011, up 0.9% in the third quarter of 2017. Remember that the next time a remainer lectures you on Brexit and the productivity crisis…
Meanwhile, London is enjoying a post-Brexit tech boom after venture capital investment in the sector reached an enormous all-time high. London is beating its closest European rival, Paris, hands down: London tech firms on average receive four times as much investment cash as French companies. Total tech investment in London now stands at £2.9 billion, beating every other European city. That’s almost double the previous year…
Turns out yet another aspect of remain scaremongering was entirely wrong. Happy New Year!
Among all the predictions of doom and recession the remainers and economists got wrong they were right about one in 2016 – the pound did fall 15% after the vote. This was not unexpected, Leave backing donors like hedge fund manager Crispin Odey figured that out and traded accordingly. The pound was widely seen as over-valued.
The pessimism on the pound continued into 2017, HSBC predicted it would hit parity with the €uro, Remain backing investment bank Morgan Stanley toppped that with a prediction that the € would surge past parity to be worth £1.02. Brexit-backing economist Roger Bootle’s firm Capital Economics stuck their neck out at the same time and said the £ would finish at €1.13. The pound ended the year at €1.12…
Goldman Sachs’ CEO Lloyd Blankfein has been outspoken against Brexit, his firm forecast sterling would fall from $1.25 to $1.14 in 2017. In fact, it has risen to $1.35. Goldmans also forecast that the 10-year gilt yields that determine government borrowing costs would rise from 1.28% to 1.65%. They fell to 1.19%…
We were told that banks would leave the City last year, there has been no such exodus, London still has more international banks than any other financial centre in the world. We were told that foreign investors would shuna UK poised to Brexit, yet inward Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) hit a record high in 2017, dwarfing all other EU countries. The experts were absolutely wrong.
These same Remain supporting investment banks and international institutions are now predicting that Britain’s GDP will plummet outside the EU. Ironically official figures have just been revised up putting UK GDP growth up with Germany. UK and French GDP has been neck and neck for years, France is actually ahead currently. Guido will wager that in a decade the UK’s GDP will actually be greater than that of France. Any takers among economic experts?
The UK is officially the best country in the world to do business. Despite Brexit…
Forbes says that after the Leave vote “predictions swirled that the British economy would collapse”, yet “the economy as a whole has held up relatively well” and “Britain’s business climate remains attractive. The UK ranks first for the first time in Forbes’ 12th annual survey of the Best Countries for Business”. We were fifth last year and have never come top before. Look forward to the FT write up of this one…
More businesses were established in the UK last year that in any of world’s other developed economies, according to accountants UHY Hacker Young. 218,000 new businesses were started in the UK in 2016, a a 6% increase on 2015. During the referendum the Remain campaign said:
“If we left, businesses would be hit by new charges… leading to job cuts, higher prices, lower wages and fewer opportunities for you and your family. Companies say they would move their business, and jobs, to other EU countries, meaning fewer jobs on the UK market.”
UHY’s Daniel Hutson said:
“The figures suggest confidence in the economic outlook, despite Brexit.”
Remember that mass exodus from the City of London that was supposed to happen after the vote to Leave? Turns out the opposite is the case. City AM reports this morning that “City firms are set to embark on a hiring spree next year”. Data from City recruiter Hays reveals that more than two-thirds of financial services firms are planning to hire more staff in the next 12 months. Their MD Mark Staniland says:
“It’s promising that despite market uncertainty, financial organisations are continuing to hire as regulatory changes come into play and digital advancements are creating the need for organisations to constantly adapt and remain up-to-date.”
City AM says “high demand for staff” has been “driven by double-digit salary growth for new hires in the capital”. A jobs boom in the City, #DespiteBrexit…