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UK consumer confidence at pre-Brexit levels

Friday, September 30, 2016 - 01:42

British consumer morale rocketed back to pre-Brexit levels in September, according to a new survey. As Ivor Bennett reports, it confounds expectations of more lasting damage to Briton's willingness to spend - but appears at odds with emerging concerns over what Brexit will mean for British business.

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The ups and downs of post-Brexit Britain can be hard to follow. Sterling falls, but inflation rises; forecasts and reality on the opposite track. The latest surprise - consumer confidence. Its biggest increase in over a year taking it back to pre-Brexit levels. SOUNDBITE (English) JEREMY BATSTONE-CARR, INDEPENDENT MARKET ANALYST, SAYING: "The Bank of England has done its job. It cut interest rates. It expanded its quantitative easing programme which is exactly a central bank should do when assessing the right response to probabilities. And yet since that time, and perhaps in part because of it, consumers have felt extremely comfortable." The Bank of England may be less comfortable though. The long-term outlook is more uncertain. But an upward revision of second quarter GDP has left it with a tricky decision over what to do next. SOUNDBITE (English) JEREMY BATSTONE-CARR, INDEPENDENT MARKET ANALYST, SAYING: "And what will that mean for the emergency measures put in place in August? That's a very interesting question. I think the financial markets are looking the other way." What they are watching is whether Brexit will be hard or soft. And they're not the only ones. Nissan calling on the UK government for compensation over any tax barriers a hard Brexit would entail. SOUNDBITE (English) CARLOS GHOSN, CEO, RENAULT-NISSAN, SAYING: "Well if it was for example tax imposed on products coming from the UK to Europe it would be something very detrimental to the development of our presence in the UK." Nissan's presence at the moment is substantial. Its plant in Sunderland accounts for a third of Britain's total car output. Remove that and the economy may be easier to predict.

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UK consumer confidence at pre-Brexit levels

Friday, September 30, 2016 - 01:42