Nov 25, 2019

Brexit's effect on business

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.

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Only poll to predict 2017 U.K. election result forecasts huge Boris win

Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative Party is on pace to win a significant majority in the U.K.'s high-stakes election on Dec. 12, according to a major poll of 100,000 voters conducted by YouGov.

Why it matters: The so-called MRP poll, which takes local factors into account to provide a highly detailed prediction, was the only one to accurately predict that Theresa May would lose her majority in the shock 2017 election. If Johnson does indeed earn a majority of 68 seats, as the poll projects, he would finally be able to pass his Brexit deal and take the U.K. out of the European Union — 3.5 years after the 2016 referendum.

Go deeperArrowNov 27, 2019

Why Trump cares about this week's U.K. elections

Trump and Johnson at the NATO summit in London this month. Photo: Steve Parsons-WPA Pool/Getty Images

President Trump will be watching another political contest this week: The U.K.'s Dec. 12 general election will decide what happens to Brexit and if Prime Minister Boris Johnson — aka "Britain Trump" — remains in charge.

Why it matters: If Johnson's Conservatives win the majority in Parliament, Brexit clears the way for the bilateral U.S.-U.K. trade relationship that Trump favors over negotiating with the European Union.

Go deeperArrowDec 8, 2019

Senior British diplomat quits over Brexit

Boris Johnson launches a Conservative Party general campaign poster. Britain will go to the polls on Dec. 12. Photo: Peter Nicholls/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Senior British diplomat Alexandra Hall Hall has left the U.K. diplomatic service over Brexit, saying in a letter that she could no longer "peddle half-truths" for the leaders she does not "trust," CNN reports.

Why it matters: Her resignation comes a week before the UK general election, "at a moment of deep political sensitivity for UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is seeking re-election on the promise that he can 'get Brexit done,'" per CNN. In her resignation letter, she wrote that she was unnerved to see the British civil service deliver half honest information on Brexit, and how that has undermined the credibility of British diplomats around the world.

Go deeper: Everything you need to know about Brexit