The price of gold shot up to £960.90 per ounce today following yesterday afternoon’s Bank of England statement, in which the BoE forecast the UK economy’s performance in the face of the various Brexit outcomes and warned of serious economic contraction with any ‘No Deal’ Brexit.
The Bank stated that the UK economy could be slightly better or worse off in the coming years with an EU deal passed through Parliament, but no deal would result in significant losses for the country – estimated at around 8% GDP within the first year after Brexit.
Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, says in a 'worst case' no deal Brexit scenario GDP would be more than 10.7% lower than if the UK stayed in the EU and unemployment could rise to 7.5%.— Sky News (@SkyNews) November 28, 2018
The chairman of the Bank of England, Mark Carney (seen above) gave a press conference shortly after the release of the forecasts, citing a rise in unemployment to 7.5%, inflation jumping to 6.5%, and house prices and commercial property prices plunging 30 and 48% respectively.
The news came less than a day after a cross-departmental report led by the Treasury indicated that even the best Brexit deal scenario would cost the UK economy £60 billion a year based on present data – a fact that Chancellor Philip Hammond confirmed live on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
Whatever your view of Brexit, can anyone think of a time when the Chancellor appeared on broadcast media to announce the stated policy of the government would make the nation economically poorer.— (((Dan Hodges))) (@DPJHodges) November 28, 2018
John McDonnell, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, told reporters: “The Bank has confirmed what other independent reports this week have been telling us: a No Deal Brexit could be even worse than the financial crisis of ten years ago”.
Not everyone is buying the Bank of England’s findings however, with many analysts and politicians arguing that the foundation of these statistics and forecasts is fundamentally wrong and based on less trade, rather than alternate trade.
What seems like a credible number to assume for no deal, in some really bad case (not one I'd necessarily believe)? We shld think Winter of Discontent or 3-day week or early Thatcher mass strike action. 1974 saw a 2.5% contraction in GDP; 1980 was 2%. Those are sane. 8% isn't.— Andrew Lilico (@andrew_lilico) November 28, 2018
Andrew Sentance, formerly of the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee, questioned the BoE’s behaviour, saying: “Does anyone really believe any of this as a real-world scenario? @bankofengland is undermining its credibility and independence by giving such prominence to these extreme scenarios and forecasts.”
Despite accusations of ‘Project Hysteria’, investors reacted swiftly to the news that Brexit could be more damaging than initially believed, with gold demand pushing the gold price up from sub-£950 to £960 an ounce. Goldman Sachs, who Mark Carney worked for before joining the Bank of Canada, issued a report earlier this week saying they expect gold (and oil) to perform well next year.
Investment managers Legg Mason recently performed a global survey on investment opportunities, consulting 16,000 investors across the world. The UK, Italy, Germany and Switzerland rather unsurprisingly had strong interests in gold, unlike the US who were more interested in the stock markets – which are coincidentally on a record bull run.
The company’s Head of UK Distribution, Alex Barry, admitted it was understandable to look at safe havens like gold after such a prolonged period of market success, but warned that it “remains hard to see a catalyst for it [gold] currently.”
That catalysts have manifested itself in the UK as Brexit fear, and with the usual Christmas gold price lull expected in a few weeks’ time it could be a perfect window of cheaper gold buying for cautious or fearful investors to stockpile some precious metal ready for a worst-case scenario.