Since the referendum on Brexit in June 2016, the dynamics of the British economy have been shrinking. Evidenced by the slowdown in growth in 2018 to 1.4%, the slowest pace since 2012 and a pace, as in 2017, slower than the Euro zone and France.
To fully appreciate the divergence between the United Kingdom on the one hand and France and the euro zone on the other, I calculated a trend starting in 2013 (beginning of the recovery everywhere) and ending in the second quarter of 2016 at the moment of the referendum.
The trend of each country is then extended while retaining the initial parameters. I then calculate the deviation (in%) of GDP to this trend. These are the three curves on the graph.
The UK curve is 2.5% below its pre-referendum trend. The cumulative difference since the choice of the British reflects the cost associated with it even before the Brexit is formally established (March 29, 2019 theoretically).
At the same time, the acceleration of growth in the eurozone and in France throughout 2017 marks these two countries, above their trend. France is 1.7% above the trend and the euro zone 0.8%.
Despite being the UK’s largest trading partner, European expansion has not benefited the UK. This is a very disturbing element.
Nevertheless, the expected slowdown in eurozone growth, beyond the effects of Brexit, should weigh on the economic situation across the Channel and increase, ex post, the cost of the referendum.
After the vote of the Parliament, there is a majority for a deal. But Theresa May will have to renegotiate de Irish backstop.
The EU now has to agree to reopen the negotiations. For that, Theresa May will have to offer interesting things that are not only to the advantage of the United Kingdom. It’s going to be complex for Theresa May but also for the EU which will have to remain united. The UK government should not end up dividing Europeans. It was their mode of negotiation at the beginning. Since everyone is now afraid with a no deal there may be a risk for this strategy to succeed. The EU spokesman accept to postpone the deadline but does not want to renegotiate. The game will be interesting in the coming days.
Theresa May’s defeat in the British Parliament is historic with a gap of 230 votes (432 votes against 202 against).
The text that was validated in November by the British government and the European Commission will not be the canvas of the new European architecture.
What can happen? We all have in mind a scheme with all the alternatives.
Beyond Plan B that Theresa May must present in three days and that she obviously does not have, the United Kingdom will enter the land unknown because there is no trivial solution.
The question is who will carry the British government because the general idea is that Theresa May has to leave. Indeed, can Theresa May still be credible after her terrible defeat? Will she have the will to stay as Prime Minister? What can she bring now when she has put all her strength into the battle?
We can imagine general elections but who will take the 10 Downing Street? Theresa May? A brexiter? Or Jeremy Corbyn? The first has a problem of credibility, while no brexiter wants power as long as the issue of Brexit is not settled and the British left does not wish Corbyn for this job because he is too extreme and probably too volatile. This raises the question of who could take responsibility for a second referendum.
One can imagine an extension of Article 50 but why? The EU will not move, and rightly so, and the British have already tried to negotiate the best deal for them. The only reason that pushes in this direction is the idea that in fine reason will prevail and that the British will renounce Brexit.
There remains the unilateral renunciation of the procedure which would be carried by Parliament or a Brexit without agreement.
The uncertainty remains and will not be resolved for long as Theresa May will probably cling to her position when she no longer has the hand
After the referendum on June. 23, 2016, the British economy has followed a lower profile. This comes from changes in expectations: uncertainty about Brexit rules has created a wait and see behavior and opportunities in other countries have changed people and companies’ mind about investing in the UK.
Therefore the economic trend has changed. We can see that in the graph below. The trend from the start of the recovery in 2013 to the second quarter of 2016 has been extended to the first quarter of 2018. There is a widening gap between real GDP measured by the ONS and the pre-Brexit trend. It the cost of Brexit for the UK. We see a real change after the referendum. Continue reading
During the first quarter, growth was robust in the US and in Spain, slightly lower than expected in France and weaker than anticipated in the United Kingdom.
The first graph shows the GDP quarterly change since 2015, the annual average growth for the last 3 years and the carryover growth for 2018 at the end of the first quarter.
The US growth was, for the first quarter, at the same level than the 2017 average at 2.3% Nevertheless, the figure is slightly lower than the last three quarters of 2017. The impact of the strong fiscal policy is not seen yet in these numbers. The carry over growth for 2018 is at 1.7%.
The 2.2% trend seen since the beginning of 2011 is still the framework for the US growth dynamics. (see the graph on the French version of this post)
In Spain, growth figures are strong since the beginning of 2014 even if the momentum has been a little lower for the last three quarters. The trend is almost linear at 3.2% since 2014. The carryover growth for 2018 is 1.8%
In France, growth was just 0.3% (non annualized) after 0.7% during the last 3 months of 2017. In fact the first quarter figure is just a correction after the 2017 non-sustainable path for the French economy. The current trend (since 2013) is 1.3% for France, therefore 2% was too much to be sustainable. I maintain my growth forecast at 2%.
The carryover growth for 2018 is 1.2% at the end of the first quarter.
In the UK, the trend is clearly weaker since the Brexit referendum. The second graph shows the real GDP level and the trend calculated from 2014 to Q2 2016 (the referendum was on June 23). We see that there is a huge and enlarging gap between the trend and the real GDP profile. It is the cost associated with the Brexit decision. There is no reason to see a reversal in this gap. The carryover growth for 2018 is 0.7%.