Global Counsel Brexit economic dashboard Q1 2018

Global Counsel Brexit economic dashboard Q1 2018

LONDON, 12 March 2018 – This is the first issue of the Global Counsel Brexit economic dashboard. 21 months on from the vote – and with just 12 months before the UK leaves the EU - we can now take the macro pulse of the economy, using a balanced set of 15 indicators each quarter. We are not attempting to isolate the impact of Brexit from all the other factors affecting the economy, as that is near impossible. Instead, we are providing a health check, to see where the economy is faring better or worse, compared to the years before the vote.

According to the lead author of the report, Global Counsel’s Chief Economist Gregor Irwin, the headline message this quarter is of diverging fortunes and prospects for the British economy. While the services sector is struggling, industry is doing better. And while consumer and businesses are both feeling the squeeze, there are signs that the outlook for investment is now steadier.

  • Households saw real earnings fall during most of 2017, with only the first signs of a recovery in December. This has been matched by pressure on the high street, with sluggish retail sales and an even sharper drop in consumer durables spending. This bears an uncanny resemblance to the first years of the Cameron government, when household finances came under sustained pressure. The outlook for investment is better, with respectable growth in the second half of last year and signs that policy uncertainty may be falling
  • Industry has been outperforming services since the middle of last year, which is a role reversal we’ve not seen in a sustained way since 2010. Growth in goods exports, helped by the fall in the pound and the brighter outlook for the global economy, helps explain this. 
  • We also see a mixed picture for the people indicators we looked at. We are now seeing a drop in both net migration and visitors from the EU, suggesting the UK may be less attractive as a destination. But we are only seeing early signs that this may be impacting on vacancies in the health and social work sector.

The full pdf version of the quarterly report is available here.

The full set of interactive charts is available here.

If you or your colleagues wish to speak to the lead authors of the report, please use the contacts below:

Gregor Irwin, Chief Economist: [email protected]
Thomas Gratowski, Senior Associate: [email protected]
Tel: +44 203 667 6500


Notes to editors

Global Counsel is a strategic advisory firm, founded in 2010, with headquarters in London and regional offices in Brussels and Singapore. The company provides counsel and research for clients operating in markets where an understanding of the relationship between business, policy and politics is critical. Global Counsel also produces analysis to assess the impact of developments in the political economy.