It was great news to read in City A.M. that the vast majority of global financial services bosses believe London will remain at the pinnacle of the European industry after Brexit; some 88 per cent of more than 100 senior leaders surveyed by Lloyds Bank agreed that the UK will continue to be the most prominent hub for financial services even after the UK leaves the EU.
This was supported by Andreas Dombret, Executive Board Member at the Deutsche Bundesbank, who has said that he thinks that the Square Mile will remain the continent's “eminent financial centre” after Britain quits the bloc. Going further, Dr Dombret said that he has heard “that there is quite some reluctance in the City of London – of people working there, of bankers working there – to move.”
Goldman Sachs rowed back some of the fearmongering they had advanced during the referendum, with their Chairman and Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein saying that he was surprised there had not been “more of a dramatic effect” since the vote to leave the EU in June 2016.
The economic outlook for small businesses gets better and better as the latest SME Confidence Tracker from independent financial services provider, Bibby Financial Services, shows that confidence among the UK’s smallest companies has rebounded to 2015 levels. The overall confidence index rose to its highest reading since Q2 2015 when the EU Referendum Bill was first unveiled in the Queen’s Speech.
Similarly, a study by the Institute of Directors has also shown that confidence in the UK is on the rise. Optimism is now higher than at any time since the Prime Minister triggered Article 50 last March, and the survey revealed that worries about trade were not among the main three concerns for the first time since Brexit withdrawal negotiations started.
On trade, the Norwegian government has announced that it wants to continue similar arrangements with the UK after Brexit in the transition phase through to the end of 2020. Our Commonwealth friends in Canada have also declared that they are looking forward to “negotiating an even better or larger or more impactful deal to encourage the deepening of trade ties between Canada and the UK.” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said he would be happy to open trade talks the day after Brexit, and that “the best trade deals are the win-win trade deals.” And, on top of that, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia will be holding talks with Theresa May on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, at the same time as British officials head to Canberra to continue preliminary discussions on a good quality, comprehensive deal with our friends on the other side of the world. Australian Trade Minister Steve Ciobo has said that it is his intention “to have a high-quality deal in place to commence as of the first of January in 2021.” Global Britain indeed!
And, finally, British exports around the world have soared by 10 per cent over the past year. The trade boom added £60bn to the economy as figures from the Office for National Statistics revealed we had brought in £627.6bn in exports. I agree completely with Liam Fox when he said that “the UK is entering a period of unprecedented economic opportunity, with latest figures showing a surge in exports together with optimism for continued export growth in the years ahead.”
In CHOGM week, it's great to see Britain booming!