Mixed messages on eve of Brexit

With a day to go before UK prime minister Theresa May triggers Article 50 to start separation talks with the EU, the Bank of England is warning UK banks to prepare themselves in case of a disorderly Brexit. But, as Ivor Bennett reports, the eve of Brexit also attracts a vote of confidence from Qatar as its sovereign wealth fund pledges over $6 billion in investment in Britain.

(REUTERS, UK POOL) – For Theresa May, the timing couldn’t have been better.

On the eve of pulling the Brexit trigger, a massive vote of confidence in the UK economy.

Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund pledging £5 billion of investment.


“It is a bold statement of continued confidence in the British economy, from long-term investors committed to prosperity in every part of our United Kingdom.”

Qatar already owns more of London than the Queen.

Iconic landmarks like the Shard, Harrods and part of Canary Wharf among its 40 billion pounds worth of UK investments.

For them, the cheap sterling is just another invitation.


“Do you know? Everybody regards this as a risk. But of course to Qatar this will be seen also as an opportunity, because they will be able to participate in the long-term strength of the UK economy. And whilst that is risky, it is certainly not more risky than Qatar’s own economy.”

But for others, Brexit is still a big risk.

Germany’s chambers of commerce expect higher costs will bring a strong decline in UK business and investment.

While the Bank of England has warned UK-based lenders to brace themselves in case of a disorderly departure.

Fearing continental customers may be suddenly cut-off.


“We’ve had really rather a good economic outcome post-Brexit and I worry that this has encouraged people to believe it’s all plain sailing from here. However, we have an acceleration of inflation and I suspect that later this year we will have a reduction in growth. And we could even conclude the year with a form of stagflation.”

The BoE has also warned of a surge in consumer lending, launching a review into standards.

time perhaps to take a deep breath.

One day to go until the formal divorce starts, and its effect is still dividing opinions.