August Kicks Off With Brexit Good News Hat-Trick

August kicked off with yet another triple-whammy of good economic news for booming Brexit Britain. In the City this morning Moody’s lifted the ratings of several major British banks and building societies. CityAM reports:

“Santander and TSB banks and Nationwide, Coventry and Nottingham building societies have all had their deposit ratings from negative to stable, while the stable outlooks for three issuers – Close Brothers, West Bromwich Building Society and Yorkshire were maintained.”

Before the referendum, Moody’s warned that Brexit was likely to have a long-term negative impact on bank credit ratings. No need to be so moody after all…

Staying with the banking sector, Deutsche Bank yesterday signed a 25-year commitment to a new London headquarters. The bank has signed up for a minimum of 469,000 sq ft of office space and has taken an option allowing it to expand further at a later date. About 5,000 employees will move to the new office when work is completed in 2023. That’s the same Deutsche Bank that just last month stoked up remainstream media headlines with its warning that it would downsize its London operation. Actions speak louder than words…

Last but not least, British manufacturing continues to strengthen: the sector grew at a faster rate last month than EU countries including France, Spain and Ireland. British factories are on a hiring spree as they scramble to keep up with a booming global order book. The IHS Markit purchasing managers’ index rose to 55.1 in July, from 54.2 in June. Manufacturing number-crunchers said they saw a “significant boost” in activity. A cracking summer to be had in booming Brexit Britain

A Classic of the Genre

Yesterday’s hat-trick of Brexit good news is covered the only way the FT knows how…

Amazon, Mini, EasyJet in Brexit Good News Hat-Trick

A hat-trick of #DespiteBrexit good news today, as three major employers strengthen their commitment to Brexit Britain. EasyJet has announced its largest ever intake of new cabin crew, recruiting an enormous 1,200 extra staff. More than half of that number will be based at London Gatwick. EasyJet became notorious for its sky-high levels of Remain rhetoric before the EU referendum; chief executive Carolyn McCall said Brexit “would not be good at all” for the airline. Good for those extra staff, though…

From the skies to the roads: BMW have announced that the new electric model of the iconic Mini will be manufactured in the UK, not in Germany. The car will be built at the firm’s Cowley plant, near Oxford. Business Secretary Greg Clark said the move was a sign that the UK is now “the go-to place in the world for the next generation of vehicles“. BMW were involved in a letter from car industry executives ‘leaked’ to the Guardian which claimed:

“For BMW Group, more than half of Minis built and virtually all the engines and components made in the UK are exported to the EU, with over 150,000 new cars and many hundreds of thousands of parts imported from Europe each year. Tariff barriers would mean higher costs and higher prices and we cannot assume that the UK would be granted free trade with Europe from outside the EU.”

But now BMW is building its new Mini in Britain…

Amazon, meanwhile, is undertaking a massive expansion of its UK headquarters. The online retailing giant says it will take up the entire 15 floors of a newly constructed building near the City. The firm had planned to only occupy 11; now 450 new staff will work there. Doug Gurr of Amazon UK said:

“The U.K. is a fantastic place to find talent and we feel good about building a global R&D center here. We’re very confident we’ll be able to recruit everyone we need.”

In a staggeringly self-contradictory sentence, Bloomberg reports:

“Amazon is expanding its space in the new building, which features a roof garden and surrounded by new cafes and restaurants, amid nervousness in the property market created by uncertainty over the nature of the U.K.’s divorce from the EU.”

Three more reasons to believe in Brexit Britain…

City Confident as Hiring Rates Rocket

City employers’ confidence is high as hiring rates rocket and more roles are available than this time last year. The Robert Walters City Job Index finds the number of Square Mile jobs rose 17% in June compared to the same month in 2016. Chris Hickey, Robert Walters’ chief executive for UK, Middle East and Africa, said:

“It is extremely encouraging to see that the number of roles has risen following the election, as has the number of jobseeking professionals, suggesting an increase in confidence among both candidates and employers.”

The news comes in stark contrast to the ‘brexodus’ from the City widely predicted by remain campaigners; the survey went unreported in the remain press. Funny that…

Aldi Creates 4,000 New Jobs #DespiteBrexit

After the referendum Remain soothsayers predicted disaster for Aldi. The FT reported:

Aldi and Lidl face threat from weak pound – Aldi and Lidl face having their advance against the Big Four supermarkets checked… A fall in sterling will push prices up for everyone who sources products from Europe, but Aldi and Lidl will be affected more than most

How’d that one work out? Aldi today announced it will create 4,000 new jobs after a “surge in sales”. Aldi also said it remains on course to open 300 new stores, taking its presence from 700 to 1,000 shops by 2022. CEO Matthew Barnes emphasised the business’s growth prospects:

“We need more high-performing individuals to help us achieve our growth plans.”

The Remain dinner party class should pop down to Aldi…

Bloomberg: City Safe Despite Brexit

Bloomberg – a £250,000 donor to the Remain campaign remember – has declared the City of London “safe despite Brexit“. In a hugely enjoyable volte-face, the site today published a piece concluding that the City will be fine even in the event of a no deal Brexit:

“Despite Brexit, London’s place as a leading global financial center looks safe. Ever since Britain voted to leave the European Union, analysts have debated the City’s fate… Fortunately for the U.K., Brexit itself won’t erode the significant advantages London currently enjoys. Perhaps more importantly, neither will it help European rivals build up similar advantages… These conditions aren’t easily replicated… [London’s] competitive advantages are substantial — and won’t be easily eroded even by a hard Brexit.”

The article goes onto list the comparative advantages of London over alternative European financial centres, long adduced by Leavers: strong institutions, the pound, English law, the language and lifestyle. It’s a far cry from Bloomberg’s previous analysis on Brexit, the most extreme of which was the now infamous “71% of economists” survey which predicted a post-Referendum recession in 2016. Guido crowns this the King of Despite Brexit stories…

British Manufacturers’ Order Books At 29 Year High

UK manufacturers’ order books are at their highest level since August 1988. A CBI survey of 464 firms found a “broad-based improvement” in 13 out of 17 manufacturing sub-sectors, with food, drink and tobacco and chemicals leading the British-made boom. Meanwhile, export orders rocketed to a 22-year high. CBI Chief Economist Rain Newton-Smith said:

“Britain’s manufacturers are continuing to see demand for “Made in Britain” goods rise with the temperature. Total and export order books are at highs not seen for decades, and output growth remains robust.”

This is the same CBI that warned before Brexit that an out vote would cause a “serious economic shock“, set to cost £1 billion to the economy and threaten nearly 1 million jobs. This time last year, 70% of surveyed city economists predicted the UK would by now be in recession. Experts…

£12 Billion Allied Irish Banks to Float in London

Britain’s Brexit IPO boom continues with the news that the Irish government will float state-owned Allied Irish Banks (AIB) in London and in Dublin. City AM reports the bank could be valued at as much as €12 billion, making it London’s biggest flotation since the 2011 Glencore IPO, and one of the City’s largest listings for two decades. Figures released earlier this month showed 20 IPOs took place in London during the first quarter of this year, raising £1.83 billion, up on Q1 2016, which saw 18 IPOs, raising £1.79 billion. This boom makes a mockery of market doom-mongers such as EY, who warned after Brexit: “IPO activity can be expected to largely cease in the next 12 months”. How’s that working out? 

Lloyds Chairman: City Could Weather “No Deal” Brexit

The chairman of Lloyds Banking Group Lord Blackwell has said the City can weather a “no deal” Brexit. In comments this morning reported by City AM, Blackwell said:

“I’m not complacent, but I do think London and UK financial services can weather a situation where there is ‘no deal’… There is no single centre in Europe that is likely to emerge as being able to replace London.”

Blackwell’s comments come a month after Bank of England Governor Mark Carney warned the City was not doing enough to prepare for a no deal outcome. In a speech Carney said: “Prudent planning means that you have to also plan for a shorter time horizon and a more extreme outcome… we’ll be absolutely clear that is not in the best interest of the EU 27 or the United Kingdom or the global system as a whole.” Firms seem more confident…

£3.6 Billion Fund Lists in London Despite Brexit

Given how the slightest hint of a bad news story from the City is seized upon by certain elements of the media, it’s interesting that this one has gone under the radar. US billionaire Bill Ackman’s £3.6 billion fund Pershing Square Holdings, which initially listed in Amsterdam some years ago, has listed on the London Stock Exchange today. The move clearly reinforces London’s attractiveness to international fund managers despite the doom and gloom from Remainers. Ackman explicitly says today that Brexit has not affected London’s stature as a global financial stature and that listing in London rather than Amsterdam improves market access and liquidity. As a City source puts it:

“No one is pretending Brexit wont present real challenges but in business we deal in facts and the facts show London markets remaining resilient and open to investors around the world. London’s unique financial ecosystem continues to drive global economic growth benefiting both the UK and European economies.”

Q1 2017 saw 20 IPOs in London raising £1.83 billion. Compare that to Q1 2016, which saw 18 IPOs, raising £1.79 billion. Market watchers EY warned after Brexit: “IPO activity can be expected to largely cease in the next 12 months”. £2.6 billion has been raised in Q1 2017 by London-listed funds, up more than 100 per cent year-on-year…

Item Club Quadruples GDP Forecast

Independent economic forecaster the Item Club – sponsored by City professional services giant EY –  today reports a headline prediction of 1.8% GDP growth for 2017. This is well up on even the 1.3% prediction it made last October. And it is incredibly well up on its post-referendum forecast…

The Item Club sent shock-waves through the City last summer when it downgraded its forecast for 2017 GDP growth to an absolutely dismal 0.4% after the Brexit vote. This prediction of dread set much of the business media agenda: the Item Club is taken seriously because it uses the same economic models as the Treasury. Between July 2016 and today the Item Club has revised up its forecast by an eye-popping 1.4%…

Peter Spencer, chief economic advisor to the Item Club, said today:

“Although the starting gun for Brexit has just been fired, the UK economy has been adjusting to life outside the EU since the referendum…”

And the Item Club has been adjusting its numbers…

Siemens U-Turns, Now Talking Up Brexit Opportunities

Siemens is Europe’s biggest manufacturing firm and employs 15,000 people in the UK. During the referendum the company was a paid-up member of Project Fear, sending out doom-mongering statements threatening to pull investment from Britain in the event of a Leave vote:

“Brexit would disrupt the economy in the short-term and we believe that uncertainty about the UK’s future relationship with the EU could have more significant and negative long-term effects… [this] could make the UK a less attractive place to do business and may become a factor when Siemens is considering future investment here.”

Yesterday, Siemens chief executive Joe Kaeser met Theresa May at Downing Street where he said 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.”

Who’dathunkit?

Toyota Invests Quarter of a Billion in UK #DespiteBrexit

Toyota today announces an investment of more than a quarter of a billion pounds into the UK, contrary to previous warnings from the firm and car market analysts over Brexit. The Japanese company has a major plant near Derby where it manufactures its Auris and Avensis models. About 75% of cars made at that plant are exported to EU nations. Last year the FT warned:

“The Leave vote could be the final straw for the two Japanese carmakers… Ahead of the referendum, Toyota had already warned of “huge cost reduction challenges” at its plants in Burnaston in Derbyshire and Deeside in north Wales if the UK faced a 10 per cent tariff on exports to Europe.

“The reality is that it’s nearly impossible to make profit considering that they had not made much money over the past two decades. Can you keep holding on to a perpetually lossmaking operation in Britain?” said Koji Endo, analyst at Advanced Research Japan.”

Experts…

Vodafone Boss: Mobile Roaming Charges Won’t Rise Post-Brexit

The claim that mobile phone roaming charges would rise post-Brexit was one of Project Fear’s best lines. Hence why it was parroted time and time again during the referendum:

  • Treasury: Abolition of roaming fees would not include Britons if UK leaves EU
  • Tim Farron: “From the cost of food and petrol to mobile phone bills, Brexit is hitting consumers in the pocket”
  • Britain Stronger in Europe: “Being in the EU means you pay less for… mobile roaming charges”
  • Deloitte report said using your phone abroad could become more expensive post-Brexit
  • Financial Times: “British mobile phone users face bills of up to €50 for each song they stream while roaming in the EU”
  • Guardian: “UK tourists face mobile phone roaming charges post-Brexit”

Indeed, Britain Stronger in Europe explicitly used the words “more roaming charges on mobile phones” on this graphic:

Today, the chief executive of Vodafone has signalled that post-Brexit mobile phone costs are not likely to rise. Vittorio Colao dismissed talk of increases as “not very logical”. He continued:

“We treat Switzerland, which is not part of the EU, as part of it so why would we not treat the UK that way?

The claim costs would go up was peddled by the Treasury and the official Remain campaign. Seems, once again, that it wasn’t true…

UK GDP Beats Predictions and Exports Up… Again!

UK GDP growth for the fourth quarter of 2016 has been revised higher this morning to +0.7%, higher than the expected +0.6%. The Office for National Statistics revealed export growth of 4.1%, which alongside a fall in imports of 0.4% means net trade added 1.3% to growth. Brexit Britain’s boom continues to defy the ‘experts’…

UK Food and Drink Exports Hit All Time High

Britain exported a record £20 billion of food and drink last year, as sales to the US rose by 12% and China entered the top ten UK food export market for the first time. The numbers bode well for Andrea Leadsom and Liam Fox:

  • UK food and drink exports grew by nearly 10%;
  • UK food and drink sales to the USA up 12%;
  • UK exports of salmon to France up by 31%;
  • UK food and drink exports to Germany up by 12%;
  • UK pork exports to China skyrocketing to £43 million, an increase of over 70% (China entered the top ten UK food export markets for the first time, with export growth of nearly 50 per cent);
  • Exports to Malaysia grew by a whopping 143%;
  • India emerged as one of our priority markets thanks to growing demand for Scotch whisky, global sales of whisky grew by 3% to reach over £4 billion;
  • Last year exports grew in nine out of ten of the UK’s leading export markets including USA, China and Hong Kong.

It remains the case that just one in five UK food producers are currently exporting, so there is masses of room for improvement. It is in vogue to say the Brexit-focused departments are twiddling their thumbs until we leave. In truth they are kept busy by the job of getting exports up to scratch alone… 

EU Commission: Brexit Better For Britain Than We Thought

The European Commission has been forced to scrap its gloomy UK growth forecast and revise up its estimates despite the Leave vote. City AM reports Brussels bureaucrats begrudgingly upped their prediction for 2017 UK GDP growth to 1.5% from a 1% forecast made last November. At the time EU pen-pushers said:

“Risks to the forecast have risen in recent months and are clearly tilted to the downside, including as a result of the UK ‘leave’ vote, which has raised uncertainty and can be seen as an indicator of heightened policy risks in the current volatile political environment.”

In Brussels they are eating their words…

PwC’s ‘Serious Economic Shock’ Turns Into Brexit Boom

Before the referendum the EU-funded PricewaterhouseCoopers wrote the infamous CBI report claiming Brexit would cause a “serious economic shock”, costing £100 billion and 1 million jobs. Today they have performed a screeching u-turn, now claiming Brexit will lead Britain into an economic boom. In March last year, PwC thought a Leave vote would cause a drop in UK living standards, GDP and employment and warned GDP growth “could be seriously reduced — and possibly be as low as zero in 2017 or 2018.” Today, PwC are forecasting the opposite: they now think Britain will enjoy GDP growth faster than any other major advanced economy in the world over the next three decades. They say GDP growth will outstrip the US, Canada, France and Germany with average annual rate of 1.9%.

Very expensive experts wrong again…

Bank of England Revises Up Growth Forecast, Again

The pessimists at the Bank of England slashed their growth forecasts almost immediately after the Brexit vote. The economy proved resilient, prompting an upwards revision from 0.8% to 1.4% in November. Today on the BoE’s Super Thursday the Bank yet again revises up its 2017 GDP growth forecast to 2%. Obviously this beats the predictions of all city economists. Michael Fish eat your heart out

Brexit Boom for Brilliant British Boffins

The Remain campaign’s Scientists for EU group once warned: “Less money, not more, available for UK for science if we leave.” Well, according to buoyant boffins, the UK’s world-leading life sciences sector will enjoy a boom in investment and growth post-Brexit. […] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Jeremy Corbyn on Big Ben Bong Ban

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