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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

In photos: D.C. and U.S. states on alert for pre-inauguration violence

National Guard troops stand behind security fencing with the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building behind them, on Jan. 16. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Security has been stepped up in Washington, D.C., and state capitols across the U.S. as authorities brace for potential violence this weekend.

Driving the news: Following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by some supporters of President Trump, the FBI has said there could be armed protests in D.C. and in all 50 state capitols in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The new Washington

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Axios subject-matter experts brief you on the incoming administration's plans and team.

Rep. Lou Correa tests positive for COVID-19

Lou Correa. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) announced on Saturday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Correa is the latest Democratic lawmaker to share his positive test results after last week's deadly Capitol riot. Correa did not shelter in the designated safe zone with his congressional colleagues during the siege, per a spokesperson, instead staying outside to help Capitol Police.