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Expand chart
Data: IHS Markit/CIPS; Note: November 2019 reading is based on 85% of respondent's data; Chart: Axios Visuals

A closely watched survey of private sector activity showed the bleakest outlook for U.K. businesses since July 2016 — which was right after the country voted to leave the European Union.

Why it matters: The Brexit back-and-forth has left businesses in a tailspin amid a softening global economy.

  • Companies attributed the downbeat conditions to "a lack of clarity in relation to Brexit, alongside a fresh injection of business uncertainty from the forthcoming general election," per the survey.
  • It's still unclear if or when the U.K. will leave the EU, and the December general election may do little to provide clarity.

The backdrop: The British economy shrank for the first time since Q2 in 2012. The most recent data shows that the country marginally avoided a recession, with 0.3% GDP growth in Q3.

The big picture: The results push "the PMI further into territory that would normally be associated with the Bank of England adding more stimulus to the economy," Chris Williamson, an economist at IHS Markit, said in the survey's press release.

  • Two Bank of England officials voted for the central bank to cut rates earlier this month — splitting with the rest of the monetary policy committee.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Senate Democrats unveil new income tax for billionaires

Sen. Ron Wyden. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Democrats on Wednesday released a billionaires' tax proposal, designed to help support President Biden's social spending and climate change legislation.

Why it matters: Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said the Billionaires Income Tax would raise "hundreds of billions of dollars" and would affect approximately 700 taxpayers who have more than $1 billion in assets or incomes of over $100 million a year.

The startup that wants to disrupt big internet providers

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

A new startup backed by funding from AOL founder Steve Case and Laurene Powell Jobs wants to break up broadband monopolies across the country.

Why it matters: Internet access has been crucial during the pandemic, but it's not ubiquitous, and it can be both slow and unaffordable in swaths of the country.

4 hours ago - World

Top general: China's hypersonic missile test "very close" to a "Sputnik moment"

Gen. Mark Milley. Photo: Rod Lamkey-Pool/Getty Images

Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned Wednesday that China's test of a hypersonic missile is "very concerning" and "very close" to the kind of "Sputnik moment" that triggered the Space Race during the Cold War.

Why it matters: The comments by America's top uniformed general underscore the depths of U.S. concerns about China's rapid military expansion and development of advanced weaponry.