What’s the deal for your personal finances if there’s a no-deal Brexit?

Amid warnings of dire consequences, here’s how to cope if it does become a reality
The pound’s fall since the EU vote has benefited tourists coming to the UK, but not Brits going abroad.
The pound’s fall since the EU vote has benefited tourists coming to the UK, but not Brits going abroad. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

The currency markets have been doing little to allow British holidaymakers to enjoy a relaxing summer. The pound recently slumped to its lowest level against the dollar and the euro so far this year, meaning a break away just got more expensive.

Behind that slump was the growing possibility that talks between London and Brussels will break down over the coming months and the UK risks leaving the EU with no deal in place. Bank of England governor Mark Carney has warned that the prospects of this happening are “uncomfortably high” and should be avoided at all costs. But if that no-deal does, indeed, become a reality, what will be the impact on the rest of our personal finances?

Pensions

An economic upheaval would affect pensions in some ways. Workers could be less able to invest in long-term savings, and there is the possibility that a squeeze on taxes would affect the ability of the government to pay for the pensions “triple lock”, which guarantees a minimum increase in the state pension each year, according to Steve Webb, director of policy at pensions investment company Royal London.

At present, hundreds of thousands of British expat pensioners live in EU countries and get their UK pensions paid and annually uprated as the UK has a reciprocal social security agreement.

“There is a risk that if there was a hostile ending of relationships between the UK and the EU, these reciprocal uprating arrangements could break down, and expat pensioners might miss out on annual upratings. Ministers assure us that a deal will be done. But it’s hard to know what a world of poor inter-governmental relationships would look like post-Brexit,” says Webb.

Rates on annuities – which guarantee an income for life – dropped to record lows when the referendum results came through, and some providers pulled out of the market, although rates are now rising slowly, says Rachel Springall of financial data provider Moneyfacts.

With the prospect of no deal, risk-averse retirees could be wise to invest sooner rather than later, says Moira O’Neill of Interactive Investor, an online trading and investment platform. “If you need income, but can delay buying an annuity for a few years – which might be a good idea, as the rates improve as you get older – look at a drawdown arrangement,” she says.

“Since the pension freedoms were introduced in April 2015, growing numbers of people have opted for drawdown schemes, whereby they can take sums directly out of their pension pot as income, while leaving the rest invested. A no-deal Brexit could give investors a bumpy ride, so those in drawdown should consider not eating into their capital, to allow it to recover.

“It’s best, if you can, to only take the ‘natural yield’ – that’s the actual income earned by the investments. For example, dividends on shares or interest or ‘coupon’ paid by bonds.”

Currency

The slump in the value of sterling earlier this month came as investors looked to protect themselves against the possibility of a collapse in talks, and there have been predictions that the pound will continue to fall in the coming months. Last week, foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt said that a no-deal Brexit could result in a sharp fall in the value of sterling.

“If a no-deal Brexit does become a reality, you’ll struggle to find many who don’t foresee the consequences as being pretty dire. There doesn’t seem to be very many positives, in the short term at least, and the many negatives would almost certainly far outweigh them,” says David Lamb, head of dealing at Fexco Corporate Payments.

Some analysts have a brighter outlook. US investment bank Morgan Stanley says Britain is likely to secure a deal with the EU and that the pound will strengthen by the end of the year.

Savings

The Bank of England gave some long-awaited relief to savers at the beginning of this month when it raised rates above the emergency level introduced after the financial crisis. Mark Carney, however, signalled his willingness to reverse the quarter-point increase in the event of a disorderly Brexit.

“Savers who have their money in cash may see their returns fall … which would be devastating to those who rely on their savings to supplement their income,” adds Springall.

Those with investments in the stock market – through shares or shares-based Isas – could face the prospect of turmoil on the exchanges if there is no deal and companies struggle to cope with the repercussions.

“Many Isa savers associate investments with uncertainty and caution, but too much caution can have a negative impact on your money. And although we’ve seen a small rise in interest rates, keeping your money in cash is just guaranteeing that it loses value,” says O’Neill. “On the other hand, if you put too much of your cash into high-risk options such as stocks and shares, you put yourself at the mercy of market fluctuations – and a no-deal Brexit could mean a big drop in the value of investments.”

Housing market

House-price growth slowed in June to the lowest annual rate in five years, driven by falling prices in London, according to the Office for National Statistics last week.

A few days earlier, estate agent Savills posted an 18% drop in half-year profits and warned that deadlocked negotiations made it difficult to make predictions for the rest of the year.

A no-deal Brexit would be “disastrous”, according to Neal Hudson, housing analyst at Residential Analysts, with the possibility of a crash as a result of rising inflation, job losses and a recession. Others argue that a paralysis of the market is not necessarily a given. “Although we saw some evidence of a reaction from homebuyers after the vote, with a few putting a move on hold or pulling out, it was very short-lived and only affected a small minority.

“In most cases, homeowners have tended to decide not to put everything on hold over a potentially protracted period,” says David Hollingworth of London & County.

He believes that while the uncertainty has led to a slowdown of price growth in some regions, other factors are at play, such as affordability and tighter buy-to-let rules.

He adds: “Currently, low mortgage rates and low unemployment means there is a solid foundation. Of course, there could be speculation around organisations shifting job locations, for example in financial services, which could have a knock on for house prices. But even then, it may be regionalised and limited in scope.”

A varied portfolio

Despite the signs of gloom, Brexit does not have to be a disaster for personal finances, according to O’Neill. Instead, money has to be invested to avoid any turbulence.

“This means spreading your money between UK and overseas investments, plus buying lots of different types of investments, such as company shares, commercial property, government and corporate bonds, plus gold. You can buy funds that specialise in these areas. Funds will pool your money with that of other investors to give exposure to more investments than you could buy by yourself,” she says.

“The alternative is keeping your money in the bank, where it may be safer, but doesn’t have the potential to grow. If you use Brexit as a reason to delay or stop investing, you’ll probably find another reason afterwards. You can always find something that makes you feel nervous about investing.”

Interest Rate Rise Results in Drop in Planned Home Moves

Homeowners more concerned with mortgage rates than house prices due to Bank of England decision….

 

The Bank of England’s decision to increase interest rates may have deterred homeowners from moving, according to new research from AA Financial Services.

Throughout 2018, the proportion of adult homeowners planning a move in the next six months had stayed consistent at 8%.

However, in the 48 hours following the interest rate rise by the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee, this fell to 6%.

The AA’s research analysed future demand for property by tracking homeowners’ intentions to move, including the timescale for the move, how much they planned to spend on it, and which regions they were planning to move to and from.

In its most recent figures, collated in July before the interest rate rise was announced, the AA predicted 2018’s summer would experience a high in property confidence, and expected a notable increase in the number of homeowners planning a move over the coming three months.

It also found that the average planned spend on a new home move jumped to in June, up from recorded in April.

Additionally, the July data revealed that 34% of renters were planning to buy a home in the Summer, up from 28% in the Spring, despite concerns regarding property supply.

Commenting on the figures, David Searle, Managing Director at AA Financial Services, said home movers were now concerned more with mortgage costs than house price trends as a result of the interest rate rise.

“After years of record low interest rates, last week’s rise – and indications that more is yet to come – mean that the cost of buying a home is going to get more expensive.

“Given many people are moving home to save money, release equity or to make their money go a bit further it seems that, for some, the reality of living with rate rises may well temper their plans to move in the short term.”

Savers ‘missing out on better rates’

Since Thursday’s rise there has been very little movement in rates, although generally it takes at least a week for any rises to be announced and a month for any of those better returns to take effect.

Tom Adams, of comparison site Savings Champion, said that rather than waiting, many people could get a much better deal by moving off an old deal that might pay about 0.5% in interest, or as little as 0.05%, to one of the better buys.

The leading rates for instant access savings accounts are well over 1% so, for many, simply switching to a new savings account would be more lucrative than hoping the base rate increase is passed on to their existing account.

“This year we have seen competition between the newer challenger banks rather than the big High Street names,” he said.

The reason for this, in part, is that the largest banks, particularly, did not need to attract savers. They had money sloshing around from schemes that allowed them access to cheap funds to lend out.

Challenge for customers

The competition view was echoed by Bank governor Mr Carney, who told BBC’s Today programme on Friday that while competition was not the Bank’s direct responsibility, it had created a better-prepared wicket for this to be played out.

“In order to have competition, you need all of the banks to be healthy,” he said.

“That required a lot of repair post-crisis, and… you need a lot of new banks in the system, so we’ve authorised 40 more banks.”

The City regulator has suggested that a minimum savings rate should be considered for longstanding customers, but a widely held view is that savers need to ditch their loyalty and move their funds around.

However Mick McAteer, director of the Financial Inclusion Centre, said that switching would not benefit many households with squeezed finances.

He said many millions of savers did not have sufficient amounts tucked away for a small rise in interest to make much of an impact.

Even a 1% rise in the savings interest rate would only add 20p a week or so to many people’s savings, he said, which was an “immaterial rise” and one that would do little to encourage people to save more.

Interest rate rise UK: Bank of England raises rate to 0.75 per cent in August 2018 – what does it mean for your mortgage?

Around a third of London, borrowers could see the cost of their mortgages rise by hundreds of pounds following August’s interest rate rise.

The Bank of England has voted unanimously to raise UK interest rates to their highest level in almost ten years.

The decision to raise the base rate to 0.75 per cent from 0.5 per cent pushes the Bank rate to its highest level since March 2009.

It is only the second Bank rate rise since the financial crisis in 2008, after a rise in November 2017 pushed interest rates back up from a historic low of 0.25 per cent to 0.5 per cent.

Today’s announcement will come as little surprise after most economists predicted the monetary policy committee’s decision.

The Bank of England raised interest rates today to the highest level for more than nine years

Another interest rate rise of 0.25 per cent was widely expected to take interest rates to 0.75 per cent in May.

However, the disruption caused by the “Beast from the East” that hit this March led to the economy growing by just 0.1 per cent in the first three months of the year and the Bank opted to keep interest rates at 0.5 per cent.

Two more rate rises are expected in 2019 and 2020.

Will I still be able to afford my mortgage after today’s interest rate rise?

“According to Nationwide Building Society, only a third of London borrowers are on variable rates. This means the vast majority of borrowers will see no impact on their mortgage payments have taken advantage of the low fixed rates that have been on offer,” said Colin Payne, associate director at Chapelgate Private Finance.

However, the third of London homeowners on variable rates will see their average mortgage payments pushed up by more than £300 a year as a result of the rise.

Today’s interest rate rise will push up the average mortgage by £26 per month to £1,180, further squeezing household incomes.

 

“In real terms, wage rates are still at levels prevailing in 2005. Moreover, a small proportion of households already have a relatively high debt service burden. For those, some of whom will be on variable rates, any rate rise will be a struggle, even though the impact on the wider economy and most households are likely to be modest,” said Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist.

That said, while a rise in interest rates may come to a shock to anyone who bought their first home in the past decade, higher mortgage interest will have been factored into lenders’ calculations since new rules were introduced in 2014 to curtail high-risk lending, so don’t panic.

Should I fix my mortgage now?

People on a variable rate mortgage benefit from interest rate changes when the base rate drops. However, mortgage experts agree that today’s announcement heralds a general upwards trend in interest rates.

MarkCarneyinterestratesmortgage.jpg
Mark Carney, governer of the Bank of England, announced the Bank rate rise to 0.75 per cent today (Bloomberg)

This means that borrowers on a variable rate should seek out a new deal now if they can.

“If November’s rate rise was important for its symbolism, today’s rate rise is equally important for its message to the market: the record low interest rate era is over, and interest rates are now headed in one direction,” said Craig McKinlay, sales and marketing director at Kensington Mortgages.

“This rise should be a call to action for those borrowers who haven’t yet remortgaged to get in touch with a mortgage broker and seek a new competitive deal.”

Will house prices go up or down now interest rates have risen?

The 0.25 per cent rate rise may push down already falling London house prices, as the cost of home ownership looks set to rise further.

“It’s not the relatively modest increase in interest rates which is significant – the message it sends about their future direction is far more important,” said London estate agent and former residential chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Jeremy Leaf.

“The change is likely to compromise already fragile confidence to take on debt in the property market and wider economy.”

London house prices fell for the fourth month running in May to £479,000, a drop of £2,000 off the value of the average home in the capital.

Prices were expected to continue to decline slightly for the next couple of years due to uncertainty over Brexit, combined with the likelihood of further interest rate rises.

“In our regional forecasts we predict price falls in London in 2018 and 2019 of 1.7 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively,” said Richard Snook, senior economist at consultants PwC.

UK interest rates: Pound sterling drops sharply after Bank of England hike

The pound was trading down 0.82 per cent against the dollar after the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee voted unanimously to hike the base rate from 0.5 per cent to 0.75 per cent.

Sterling had been trading down around 0.4 per cent earlier in the session and appeared to reverse those losses in the immediate aftermath of the decision. However, the currency took another dip and fell to $1.3020 an hour after the Bank announced its decision.

The pound also dropped against the euro, tumbling by 0.34 per cent to €1.122.

Sterling’s decline coincided with the Bank’s press conference, during which governor Mark Carney said Threadneedle Street would continue to follow a strategy of “ongoing, limited and gradual tightening of monetary policy” in order to keep inflation within target. He added that this could lead to three further rate rises over the next three years.

“Despite the intentionally hawkish signals it appears that traders aren’t buying it, with a failure for sterling to gain on what is, on the face of it at least, a positive hawkish message, a potentially ominous warning sign for the currency going forward,” said David Cheetham, chief market analyst, at brokerage XTB.

“Looking ahead, the curve has barely budged on today’s news with a further hike before year-end still seen as highly unlikely and an additional increase not priced in until September 2019.”

Jordan Hiscott, Chief Trader at ayondo markets, said it was notable that sterling had fallen “despite the fact the market had priced in the expectation of a 0.25 per cent rate hike”.

“A couple of things stand out for me. Firstly, the recent economic data is not consistent enough to warrant a rate increase and future near-term increases. Brexit and the fractious nature of negotiations will likely also affect this

“Secondly, the last time the MPC voted unanimously to increase rates was May 2007, and that didn’t turn out too well then.”

Business groups were critical of the central bank’s decision to hike, with the IoD’s senior economist, Tej Parikh, saying: “The rise threatens to dampen consumer and business confidence at an already fragile time.”

UK interest rates: Which banks and building societies have passed on increase to customers?

Savers may have to wait months to see the benefit as lenders keep rates low…

 

After the Bank of England’s interest rate hike on Thursday, some high street lenders have again been quick to pass on the increase to their mortgage customers, but many have been less keen to boost savings rates at the same time.

Alistair Wilson, head of retail platform strategy at Zurich, said it could take months before savers see the impact of the rate hike “as with last November’s quarter of a per cent increase, which has only resulted in an average 0.07 per cent rise on easy access accounts.”

HSBC said its tracker mortgages would go up 0.25 per cent on Friday to reflect the base rate while its other mortgage and savings rates will be reviewed.

A spokesperson for HSBC said its savings rates were “not directly linked to the Bank of England base rate”, but said customers will be informed of the outcome of the review “at the earliest opportunity”.

Virgin Money has increased the rate on its tracker mortgage by 0.25 per cent.

RBS, which owns both NatWest and Ulster Bank, has raised the interest rate on its rate-linked products by 0.25 per cent and said it is reviewing its variable rate products.

An update will be provided “ shortly”.

Lloyds Banking Group, which includes Halifax has not yet made any announcement on its variable rate but said: “The 0.25 per cent Bank of England base rate increase will form part of the ongoing rate reviews across our product ranges.”

Rate tracking products will be increased by 0.25 per cent from September, Lloyds said.

Barclays said variable mortgage rates will increase to 5.24 per cent from 4.99 per cent from 1 September. Buy-to-let variable rates will rise to  5.74 per cent 5.49 per cent on the same date and trackers will rise 0.25 per cent.

Santander said it is reviewing all variable rates.

All tracker mortgage products will move in line with the change and base-rate linked loans to UK businesses linked to the base rate will move in line with the change and in accordance with the terms of the deal.

All savings products linked to the base rate will move in line with the increase from the end of August.

A Santander spokesperson said: “When we review rates, we consider both the interest we charge for borrowing money, and the rate of interest we can offer on deposits.”

Mark Carney signals ‘earlier’ interest rate hikes for the UK

TSB said it was reviewing its variable interest rates on mortgages and will make an announcement as soon as possible.

Yorkshire Building Society will raise variable savings rates by 0.25 per cent on variable savings accounts from 14 December. “As a mutual which is owned by its members, it is our priority to deliver highly competitive and sustainable rates for both our savers and borrowers,” the lender said.

Nationwide has not yet announced rates, while the Post Office will raise its variable mortgage rates 0.25 per cent from 1 September.

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The Bank of England’s interest rate hike was sensible, but an increasingly likely hard Brexit will undo that economic progress

Such was the weight of market expectations that the Bank of England (BoE) would raise rates, that failing to enforce a hike would have caused a minor panic – with investors asking what the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) knows that the rest of us do not.

So it was hardly a shock when they did. As with the last increase, it was the smallest step upwards the Bank could practicably take, and it still leaves rates at historically low levels. A more normal pattern of interest rates, such as obtained before the financial crisis, would be closer to 5 per cent, say, than zero. We’ve become accustomed to very cheap money, which is a dangerous thing in the long run.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney: Brexit has already hit UK GDP by up to £40bn

Still, businesses and mortgage holders will be squeezed a little more, which is the point – to make it harder for the shops to raise their prices. The Bank senses, rightly, that the current trend of wages growth and strong employment figures could convert into home-brewed inflation across the two-year horizon that policy makers try to peer into.

Even with the economy growing sluggishly, and all the uncertainties surrounding Brexit, those inflationary pressures have been slowly building for a year or two, and the Bank has acted to preempt them turning into a self-fuelling wage-price spiral. What’s more, with the financial crisis having passed some time ago, the banks no longer have such need for easy money to stay liquid, and some of the BoE’s other schemes to support business lending and the property market have been quietly dropped.

We are, then, on the road to normalising interest rates, almost a decade on from the emergency cuts that brought them to 300-year lows. Yet the economy is about to enter a highly abnormal phase – Brexit. With the probability of a hard Brexit increasing, the BoE should now refrain from raising rates until the picture becomes clearer, or as clear as it ever gets with Brexit, after the formal leaving date of 29 March 2019. If the worst predictions come true with a “crash out” of the EU, the BoE may even need to take action to underpin the financial system and the wider economy in the light of unknowable consequences.

A sudden rupture of trading patterns and financial contracts would constitute an external shock every bit as destabilising as the 2008 banking crash, or the oil crises of the more distant past.

There is, after all, a close and recent precedent for hard Brexit, which is the aftermath of the unexpected EU Referendum result in 2016, when sterling crashed and the BoE had to act, successfully as it turned out, by slashing rates to just 0.25 per cent to protect financial stability and the real economy alike.

Whatever may be said about Project Fear, and the BoE’s role in it, the economic effects of that political shock were immediate. A weaker pound therefore seems an inevitable consequence of a hard Brexit (or even a soft one) and will pose a nightmarish dilemma for the BoE, as it will also mean higher “imported” inflation feeding into the system, even as the domestic economy weakens.

The BoE will also be aware that a disorderly exit will affect billions of pounds, dollars and euros worth of financial contracts across Europe, previously predicated on the EU membership, EU law, the EU Court of Justice, and EU freedom of movement of capital.

Europe’s financial “plumbing” runs through the City and Canary Wharf; what will happen if it suddenly becomes blocked? What will happen if euro-denominated deals must be legally cleared, or settled, within the EU, not London? Central banks across the EU and the BoE will need to take evasive action to limit the chaos, including on interest rates. Journalists on Brexiteer newspapers can idly blame Barnier, Merkel and Macron, but that won’t settle a single derivative deal. Someone will need to clean up the mess.

Because the path of the economy in such circumstances is difficult to predict, how weak the pound will be for how long is also hard to judge. If history is any guide, then, as in the 1970s, the deterioration of the external worth of the British currency may be more or less unrelenting.

Central banks do not like to have to lower rates midway through an orderly path to raising them, and having to do so next spring after hard Brexit would be disruptive in every sense. Such a scenario might have been avoided had the BoE not pushed the rates higher now. Either way the case for extreme caution on future rate rises is plain. The BoE, for obvious reasons, prefers not to get embroiled in the Brexit debate, but it simply cannot pretend it isn’t there or is economically neutral. At the moment the BoE seems a little in denial about the very thing they warned so hard about in 2016 – a post-Brexit recession. A U-turn probably awaits governor Mark Carney and his colleagues, say around the time of the MPC announcement in February 2019.

What an interest rate rise means for you

A borrower with a mortgage of £100,000 will see an increase of £12 in their repayment, according to the Nationwide.

The UK's wealth disparity has been reveaeled
Image: People with a standard variable rate mortgage of £100,000 will pay £12 more a month

The Bank of England has raised interest rates to their highest level in almost a decade but what are the effects of an interest rate increase on day-to-day finances?

:: Who are the winners and losers?

It is a modest increase of 0.25 percentage points to 0.75%. Households can expect the cost of their loans and mortgages to go up as banks and lenders lift their interest rates.

Savers, who have had the most to complain about in the low-interest rate environment, may see a modest gain.

:: What will be the impact of my mortgage?

Skipton Building Society chief executive David Cutter told Sky News that most new mortgages are fixed for two- to five-years.

“The vast majority of new loans, 90% are on fixed rates. Back book (older mortgages) about 66% so there is going to be no immediate impact regarding affordability,” Mr Cutter said.

This is why interest rates have been raised by the Bank of England

This is why interest rates have been raised by the Bank of England

As the bank took its decision today, the mood could hardly have been more different from the crisis days in 2009

“On an average mortgage, if they do increase by a quarter of a percent, then I think your monthly payment will go up by £16 or about £190 a year.”

According to the Nationwide Building Society, anyone on a standard variable rate will see an increase of £12 on a mortgage of £100,000 and on a £200,000 mortgage, £25.

:: Why will savers benefit?

“The good news, of course, the rest of our membership, we have a million now, is the saving side because they have really suffered for ten years now. If rates do go up to 0.75% that will be highest since early 2009. So hopefully some relief is coming down the line as well,” Mr Cutter said.

Asked by business presenter Ian King whether the full rate increase would be passed on to savers, Mr Cutter responded: “Yeah, we’ll see what the reaction is in the market.”

While savers may be hoping for better returns, Bank of England statistics show that the average interest rate on UK current accounts increased by only 0.09% in the seven months since rates were increased by 0.25% last year.

:: Will this bring down prices at the shops?

While the Bank of England has raised interest rates partly to tackle inflation, this move will not be reflected in everyday prices for some time to come.

It took six months for the effects of the Brexit-hit pound to raise prices as imports became more expensive.

Retailers fear rate rises as higher mortgage and other bills for consumers mean they will have less money to spend.

The BoE predicted that inflation would be 0.1 percentage points higher this year and next at 2.5% and 2.2% respectively.

Brexit Bulletin

Brexit Bulletin

304 Days to Go

Today in Brexit: While the Irish border and customs arrangements are the most pressing concerns, work on everything else needs to accelerate. And there’s a lot left.

The U.K. Parliament is in recess, but London has its homework to do. Brussels expects British negotiators to return next week with a clear plan about how the government proposes to solve the Irish border problem. The European Commission insists a backstop – the solution that will have to do until something better comes along – can’t be the government’s U.K.-wide customs arrangement with the European Union.

But amid all the talk about the Irish border and the endless customs union debate, it’s easy to forget there’s still a lot else that needs to be hashed out by October. The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, used a speech in Portugal over the weekend to spell out the differences. The system for settling disputes – which the EU maintains must include a strong European Court of Justice role but which the U.K. wants to be run by joint political committee – also needs to be included in the final text of the Brexit treaty.

The details about the foundations of the future relationship – which includes trade, ddefenceagreements, financial-services arrangements and regulations for industries such as fishing – are supposed to be completed by October, too.

A senior EU official raised British hackles last week, accusing the U.K. of chasing “fantasy” ideas and failing to accept responsibility for the consequences of walking away. In a background briefing for reporters, given on the condition of anonymity, the official laid out areas of dispute. From the EU’s perspective, here’s where these stand:

  • Mutual recognition of standards and regulations in areas such as food safety and financial services
  • Security: The U.K. can’t stay in Europol or take part in the European Arrest Warrant system, the EU believes
  • Foreign policy: The EU is unlikely to comply with a U.K. request for a significant say in decision making
  • Galileo satellite navigation system: The U.K. can’t turn the program into a U.K.-EU joint project and have privileged access which could give it the right to turn the system off unilaterally, the EU says
  • Data protection: The EU is unlikely to allow the U.K. to have a bespoke agreement that would lead to the EU losing its autonomy over privacy rules

There’s much work to do over the summer to lay the plans for the full-scale negotiation on the two sides’ post-Brexit ties. “Time is running out,” Barnier warned on Saturday. “If we want to lay the foundation for our future relationship before the withdrawal of the U.K., we must accelerate.”

Ian Wishart

Today’s Must-Reads

  • The Financial Times’s Tony Barber argues there’s a fierce battle emerging over the future of the EU that’s been ignited by the crisis in Italy
  • Bloomberg Opinion’s Mohamed A. El-Erian says markets fear a populist backlash in the country

Brexit in Brief

Air Agreement | The U.K. is ready to agree to an “open skies” agreement with the U.S. this summer that will keep planes between both countries flying after Brexit, the Daily Telegraph reports, citing four unidentified sources. The newspaper also says the EU has moved to shut the door on British and other non-EU companies participating in the European Defense Industrial Development Program.

Carry On Spending | Britain will help to determine the EU’s 1 trillion-pound budget up to 2027 after European countries defied Brussels and invited British officials to take part in negotiations, the Times reports. The European Commission was opposed to the plan devised by individual member states, the newspaper says.

Scotland in Brussels | Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon reiterated her goal for the U.K. to remain in the customs union and single market in a meeting with Michel Barnier in Brussels.

Dynamic Deals | Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson repeated his call for the U.K. to make a clean break from the EU when it leaves the bloc, warning Prime Minister Theresa May that Britain won’t be able to take full advantage of the split unless it does.

No Plan B
| The government’s preparations for a “no deal” Brexit have largely ground to a halt, the Financial Times reported. This will make it almost impossible for Theresa May to walk out of negotiations with the EU in the next 10 months, the paper said.

Hunky Dory | A Bank of England spokesman ,refuted suggestions of a rift between the central bank and the U.K. Treasury after a report in the Financial Times said the institutions are at “loggerheads” over the future of City of London regulations after Brexit.

 

Source https://www.bloomberg.com/brexit

Inflation and poor growth see Bank of England ditch rate rise plans

Interest rates could stay low for as long as another two years, as falling inflation and weak economic growth force the Bank of England to scrap plans to push up rates in the coming months.

Mark Carney is expected to hold rates at 0.5pc at Thursday’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting, postponing a highly-anticipated rate rise for at least three months. The freeze will disappoint savers who have laboured under historically low rates for almost a decade – and a boon to borrowers who get extra time with cheap money.

But economists now suspect that inflation will keep falling quickly towards the Bank’s 2pc target, making it harder for policymakers to raise the rate.

Poor GDP growth at the start of this year and signs of a slowing global economy could also dent the Bank’s longer-term inflation estimates.

If that forces it to cut back its inflation forecast then the case for higher rates could evaporate altogether.

“They are stuck. The Bank can’t raise rates now, the economic numbers have been too weak recently,” said Martin Beck at Oxford Economics. “They should not have raised rates in November, closed the term funding scheme or worried that credit growth was too strong – those three things have contributed to the economy slowing.”

Markets are currently pricing in only two rate rises by August 2019, but George Buckley, an economist at Nomura, thinks even this may be too many if inflation is slowing sharply.

“Should the Bank publish a forecast with inflation below target based on market rates that would be quite a statement, as it would imply that even limited market pricing for rate hikes might prove too much,” he said.

UniCredit’s Daniel Vernazza believes it will be at least another year before rates rise to 0.75pc.

Kallum Pickering at Berenberg Bank fears the Bank has missed its chance. “They should have hiked by this stage of the economic    cycle, but they cannot do it now because of the soft data,” he said.

Substantial Rental Growth Found Outside of the Capital

UK renters are increasingly looking outside of London, as the capital’s rental market reaches an affordability ceiling.

Your Move’s latest buy-to-let index shows rents across England & Wales averaged in February.

In London, however, the exodus of renters looking outside of the capital for more affordable accommodation has resulted in slower rental growth, with rents declining 1% year-on-year and 0.5% from the previous month to an average of in February.

Similarly, the rental market in the South West also saw pressure ease in February, as rental properties reached a surplus in the region; rents in the area reduced by 1.5% year-on-year, with the average price now standing at pcm.

Tenants in Wales, on the other hand, saw rents surge the quickest over the month, with the average property letting for in February – a 7.7% annual increase.

A monthly reduction saw rental returns slide by 0.1% from January to an average of 4.1% across England and Wales.

The highest rental returns were found in the northern regions of the North East & North West, where average returns stood at 5.3% & 5% respectively, in February.

Conversely, landlords with properties in the South East and South West saw rental return fall below 4% in February, following a year-on-year decline.

The news follows Knight Frank and IHS Markit’s latest publication, which found that property owners continued to remain positive about the UK property market in March.