Brits reduce borrowing in preparation for Brexit

in busy •  22 days ago

The Bank of England's latest report on borrowing showed people tightening their belts (probably in response to the No Deal drumbeat as Brexit Day approaches).

The net amount of new consumer borrowing, excluding mortgages, fell to £0.8 billion in July, down from £1.5 billion in June. This month’s fall reflected a weakening in both credit card lending and other loans and advances (which includes personal loans, overdrafts and car finance), to £0.2 billion and £0.6 billion respectively.

consumercredit.jpg

I'm going to make a prediction: that new car sales in Sept (when the new number plates comes out) will be disappointing as people put off purchases till they see how Brexit turns out. If you look at the above image, the last big drop in consumer lending was in March 2018 (which is also a big month for car sales as new number plates get issued in March and September).

Now is basically not the time to take out new loans or make purchases of high ticket items. It's the time to build some savings and clear some debts.

This is going to have an impact on two sectors - the retail sector and the auto sector. Vendors of stuff like smart phones will likely suffer. Watch for the trade figures in the next few months. Given that we tend to borrow to buy imported stuff, the lack of borrowing should mean the trade deficit narrows.

Of course on the other side of the trade figures are the EU27 who run a trade surplus with us. If our deficit narrows, so does their trade surplus with us as they sell less stuff to us.

This should cause some pressure for their exporters and will be just another element in the game of chicken that is being played between the UK and the EU.

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