LONDON (Reuters) – There is not a strong sense that Britain’s economy is contracting, the Bank of England’s Deputy Governor Jon Cunliffe said on Tuesday.
In an interview with the Newcastle Journal, Cunliffe said a number of factors around Brexit deadlines – first in March, then April, and now October – had increased stockpiling and made it hard to analyse the state of the UK economy accurately.
“I haven’t picked up a strong sense that the economy is contracting and people are seeing big drops in demand,” he said.
He said it looked likely that Britain’s second quarter would be weak but attributed much of that to the unwinding of stocks.
“With Q1 and the second quarter of this year, you won’t get a very accurate read on the underlying nature of the economy,” he said.
“There is a (Brexit) decision point coming up on Oct. 31 and we don’t know whether we’ll leave, or stay, or whether there’ll be an extension – but we could see that stockpiling cycle build up again.”
Cunliffe said he had spoken with businesses in the northeast.
“I didn’t get from contacts here that the economy is going into recession, or that we’re seeing activity drop,” he said.
“There is some sense of slowing, some sense that the world economy is having an effect. But it’s not a story of a recession and sharp drops in demand.”
(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Kevin Liffey)