Brexit uncertainty hurting growth – central bank

LONDON (AP) — Bank of England policymakers are warning that British businesses are increasingly concerned about the prospect of the country crashing out of the European Union in March with no deal on future relations.

The bank’s chief economist, Andy Haldane, told lawmakers that Brexit uncertainty is the “single largest headwind” to the British economy and that the impact has become “somewhat greater” in recent weeks amid talk of a no-deal Brexit.

As a result, he said, British economic growth is set to be “somewhat weaker” in the fourth quarter from the quarterly rate of 0.6 percent recorded in the third.

Michael Saunders, another rate-setter at the bank, said most businesses were nowhere near ready for a no-deal Brexit, which would see tariffs imposed on British exports and potentially big dislocations to supply chains as well as restrictions on the movement of people and goods.

Business confidence, he said, had risen recently and that would have “some negative effect” on near-term activity.