23/08/2018 - UK Steps Up Plans For No-Deal Brexit

GBP

Britain will step up its planning for a no-deal Brexit on Thursday as it publishes a series of notes advising people and businesses how to protect themselves from the potential disruption of a clean break with the European Union. With less than eight months to go until the March 29 exit day, Britain has yet to reach a divorce agreement with the bloc. Negotiations resumed on Tuesday but diplomats in Brussels expect an informal deadline of October to be missed. More than 80 technical notices are expected over the coming weeks, with media reporting they will cover everything from financial services to food labelling.

Several ministers have warned that the risk of leaving without an agreement has increased. Earlier this month trade minister Liam Fox put the chances at 60-40. Brexit secretary Dominic Raab will say that in some cases Britain will take unilateral action to maintain continuity in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Many economists say failure to agree exit terms would seriously damage the world’s fifth-largest economy as trade with the EU, Britain’s largest market, would become subject to tariffs.

Supporters of Brexit say there may be some short-term pain for the economy, but that long-term it will prosper when cut free from the EU. A survey this month by the Institute of Directors, a business lobby group, found that fewer than a third of company bosses had carried out contingency planning on Brexit.

USD

Federal Reserve officials discussed raising interest rates soon to counter excessive economic strength but also examined how global trade disputes could batter businesses and households, minutes of the U.S. central bank’s last policy meeting showed. The Fed, which released the readout from its July 31-Aug. 1 meeting on Wednesday, has been raising rates gradually since 2015 and is now concerned the economy is so strong that inflation could rise persistently above its 2 percent target.

Fed policymakers left rates unchanged at their last meeting, but their discussion made it clear they are considering another rate hike soon. The Fed has raised rates twice this year and is widely expected to tighten policy again next month. Fed officials also generally expected the economy would grow at a fast enough rate to put upward pressure on inflation, which recently has come close to the central bank’s target. With interest rates rising, many policymakers said the Fed would soon have to stop describing monetary policy as giving a boost to the economy.

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