Hammond says Britain may reset fiscal policy in strongest hint to change

Slideshow ( 4 images )

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain could reset fiscal policy if necessary in the wake of the Brexit vote, finance minister Philip Hammond said on Friday in his strongest comments to date on how policy may change after Britain’s historic decision to leave the European Union.

The newly appointed finance minister said last week he would consider how quickly Britain should bring down its budget deficit, suggesting he would take a less aggressive approach to that of his predecessor George Osborne.

He has also said details would only be unveiled at the Autumn Statement later this year.

“Over the medium term we will have the opportunity with our Autumn statement, our regular late-year fiscal event, to reset fiscal policy if we deem it necessary to do so in the light of the data that will emerge over the coming months showing us exactly what is happening in the economy post the referendum decision,” Hammond said on a trip to China, the BBC reported.

Hammond’s comments, which left unclear the nature of any fiscal steps he might have in mind, come at a time when markets are already jittery about how the economy will fare post-Brexit.

Investors will get some of the biggest insight into how the economy is doing since the referendum when a reading of manufacturing and the services sector comes out shortly.

Reporting by Kate Holton, writing by Guy Faulconbridge and Ana Nicolaci da Costa; Editing by Douglas Busvine