Britain’s economy fared better than predicted in the wake of the surprise Brexit vote in June as figures show signs that consumers are taking the country’s vote to leave the European Union in their stride. Stuwart McDill reports.
The UK might not be headed for a Brexit bust after all.
June’s shock vote for an EU departure sparking weeks of woeful data.
But recent numbers show something different.
August retail sales figures out Thursday.
They show stores having their best month since February.
Reuters UK economic correspondent Andy Bruce has been reading the runes:
REUTERS UK ECONOMIC CORRESPONDENT ANDY BRUCE
“Retail sales data has been really strong. There wasn’t much sign of a slow down in consumer credit growth yesterday when the BVA released some of its credit figures so, so far it looks like consumers have taken the Brexit vote in their stride.”
The rethink greeted with glee by Brexit supporters.
Tabloid newspapers talking of boom times ahead.
Markets too shrugging off the gloom.
UK shares now back above pre-referendum levels.
The battered pound regaining a little strength.
But just as the most doomy forecasts may have been premature.
So too, probably, are confident boasts of a boom:
SENIOR FX STRATEGIST, RABOBANK, JANE FOLEY,
“What we know is that in the initial aftermath of the referendum consumers carried on consuming really quite strongly and certainly that is a very good sign. However, we also know that part of the boost of consumer confidence was related to better weather, that will not sustain. We also know that the weaker pound will bring import price inflation, that will affect consumption because it will act as a tax in consumer’s pockets, so demand is likely to decrease from domestic consumers.”
September will also see detailed numbers on how manufacturing, services and construction fared in July.
It will be a long time before the optimists, or the pessimists, can say for certain who’s right.