Countdown to Brexit – The outlook for Gold
Welcome to the BullionByPost 'Countdown to Brexit'. Here we will post daily digests of the latest Brexit news, and how it's impacting upon the Pound, the gold price, and the UK economy. You can also stay in the loop by signing up for our weekly email newsletters via the homepage or by browsing our News section.
The Forecast for Gold
There are four Brexit scenarios that can occur, and each one has a different outcome for gold bullion demand and subsequently prices. Below we explain our understanding of investor behaviour, and how those seeking to preserve their wealth will act.
The fear for investors is that a No-Deal Brexit leaves the UK isolated and unable to trade properly. If companies cease to trade at the same levels - because of regulations, tariffs, supply access, and work visas - then they become less productive and less profitable, and less worthy of investment.
No Deal has a strong likelihood on the basis of political disagreement; members within the Conservative Party want to remain, want a soft Brexit, and want a hard Brexit. Indecision and a failure to unify will hinder the acceptance of any deal, and even if it skips the party and lands on parliament, there limited chance a deal would be accepted by the Commons.
The fear surrounding such an event has already seen spikes in the gold price. Last month, following the Salzburg Summit 'ambush' of Theresa May, the Pound went down and gold went up - first from £901 to £915 per ounce, and within a few days it had climbed further to £930 per ounce.
Prediction: Investors are quick to act, and the bandwagon effect is strong. If the UK & EU cannot agree a deal then we should see a snowball effect of demand plus a very weak Pound Sterling pushing gold's price pup anywhere north of £1,100 per ounce.
A Hard Brexit is the preferred agreement for many members of the UK Government. This would be a complete break from the European Union, meaning no more free movement for migrant workers and no further access to the single market. Investors are worried about the lack of market access, and it's likely that this will deter capital from backing UK stocks and in doing so boost the price of gold as investors seek a new direction for their funds.
Prediction: Despite not being part of the single market, it's unlikely that the UK would not establish any European trade deals. The slowdown in the British economy would be enough to weaken the Pound and inspire investor interest to raise gold prices to between £970 and £1,000 an ounce, but not so much as to cause a desperate surge in demand that would see it climb to record levels.
This is the favoured outcome by many analysts and investors, as well as the UK's opposition party. In this scenario, the UK would be treated similarly to Norway or Canada in terms of its trade access, meaning that there would be no free movement of people but the supply of goods and materials wouldn't be hindered by strict customs inspections.
Prediction: The likelihood is that gold demand would rise modestly, sitting within the £950 - £965 range, with investors relatively comforted by the deal but airing concerns for the risk to European workers currently based in the UK and a potential loss of labour supply.
Brexit? What Brexit?
There is an outside chance that Brexit will be averted/aborted in the event of a second referendum or another general election. Both the UK's major political parties said they would honour the referendum result, but the Labour Party - along with other opposition parties - said they would respect a second referendum result were the British public to demand a 'People's Vote'. In the event of a re-run and Remain winning it is likely that it would be business as usual in the UK and gold demand would once again be heavily correlated to the US Dollar's strength.
Prediction: The price of gold may actually drop as investor fears subside, though it is likely to stay above £900 per ounce.
- 1st - 3rd October : Conservative Party conference
- 18th - 19th October : European Council monthly summit
- 26th October : Irish Presidential Elections
- 29th October : UK Autumn Budget (15:30 GMT)
- 7th/8th November : US Mid-Term Elections
- 6th - 12th November : UK Parliamentary recess
- 10th November: Jo Johnson resigns from the UK cabinet
- 13th - 15th November : Emergency Brexit Summit (CANCELLED)
- 25th November: EU Summit for Brexit
- 4th December: UK Government found in contempt of Parliament
- 12th December: Conservative MPs initiate No Confidence vote in PM
- 20th December - 7th January 2019 : UK Parliamentary recess
- 21st January 2019 : Deadline for No-Deal to be declared
29th March 2019 :
Britain formally leaves the EU at 23:00, entering an initial transition
period during which EU regulations are slowly phased out until the end of 2020.
- 31st December 2020 : The transition period of Britain leaving the EU officially concludes.
Conservative MPs last night initiated a motion of No Confidence against the Prime Minister,
having crossed the required threshold of 48 letters of opposition to Theresa May's continued
Conservative Party leadership.
Sir Graham Brady, Chairman of the 1922 Committee, is the chief of Tory backbenchers and
the designated official who can instigate the motion after receiving enough letters expressing
no confidence in the party leader. Sky News deputy political editor Beth Rigby tweeted yesterday
at 8am that it was believed that Mr Brady had received the required total, while late evening
Robert Peston tweeted a similar claim.
The announcement came at 7:45am this morning, with the Prime Minister giving a statement at
around 8:45am declaring that she will stand in the contest. She will speak to the 1922 Committee
at 5pm today, before voting begins at 6pm and ends at 8pm. The results of the vote, or at least
the first round of voting, are expected at 9pm UK time.
Below you can see the BBC footage of the Prime Minister's statement this morning:
Monday 10th December 2018
Almost a week after the Attorney-General of the European Court of Justice said that the
UK should be able to walk away from Brexit without needing the permission of the other
27 member states, the court has now officially ruled that this statement is indeed correct
and, so long as a democratic decision is taken (either by public vote or in Parliament)
then the act of aborting Brexit would be considered legal and legitimate.
Lawyer David Allen Green, a contributor to the Financial Times and a blogger under the name
'Jack of Kent', published a thread on Twitter today explaining his insight into the matter. Mr
Green says that the UK can change its mind on Brexit until the Withdrawal Agreement is
signed and extended. If that is concluded then this is over, but until it is this option remains
active. Allen Green also points out that if the Article 50 deliberation period is extended then the
revocation right also extends with it.
Tomorrow evening will see the House of Commons vote whether to proceed with Theresa May's
negotiated EU deal or whether to vote it down. The current odds are against her, hence the large
diagram from The Times below, but given today's ECJ ruling there may be a surprise in the works
from Conservative MPs keen to save face.
Wednesday 5th December 2018
The Times newspaper today issued a handy visual guide to next Tuesday's Brexit vote,
and the multitude of scenarios that may result from a No vote against Theresa May.
The colourful diagram has gained popularity quickly throughout the day, with news
outlets across the world retweeting and republishing the piece that explains the tricky
situation the UK government and Parliament as a whole now faces.
A motion to charge the UK Government with contempt of Parliament was heard this afternoon
in the House of Commons, with MPs from all parties present to argue for and against the
government's position of refusing to expand on the legal assistance given by the Attorney
General, Geoffrey Cox. The Commons voted in favour of charging the government with contempt,
and demanded that the government share the legal documents in full with the rest of the house.
The leader of the House, Andrea Leadsom, agreed to the demands and insisted that the
documents would be available sometime tomorrow.
The UK Government suffered three voting defeats in total today, with Members of Parliament
also voting that, in the event of Theresa May's current EU deal being voted down, then the
Commons would get another vote after a 'Plan B' was presented to the House - a plan due
within 21 days of Plan A failing to be approved. The vote for the current UK/EU exit is to take
place next Tuesday evening.
Earlier, the Bank of England chairman Mark Carney, along with
deputy governors Ben Broadbent,
Sir Jon Cunliffe and Sam Woods all testified to the Treasury Select Committee in Parliament
about last week's No Deal Brexit forecast, with MPs quizzing the governors about their findings,
their methods, and their insights into the future of the UK economy in different scenarios.
Today is also the first of five (working) days of Parliamentary debate about the UK's Brexit
deal with the EU. Prime Minister Theresa May will be part of eight hours of debate in the
chamber each day, due to begin mid-afternoon today. After the debates the House of
Commons will then vote whether to accept or reject the deal, with the vote expected to be
held on the evening of Tuesday 11th December.
The timing is perhaps more than coincidental too, with the European Court of Justice's
advocate general reporting today that the UK should be able to legally just walk away from
Brexit. This hasn't been 100% confirmed by the ECoJ, but Scottish MPs presented the
question to the court and were told that a nation does not need the consent of the other
member states to change its mind on a course of action.
Monday 3rd December 2018
Sir Keir Starmer QC, Labour's
Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union and
former head of the CPS, has this evening called for contempt proceedings against the UK Government
after its refusal to publish the typically confidential legal advice it received from the Attorney
General, Geoffrey Cox.
Labour joined up with the Lib Dems, SNP, the DUP and Plaid Cymru to trigger the 'Contempt of
Parliament' challenge on the grounds that Mr Cox had failed to reveal the full legal advice given
to the government with regards the recently agreed Brexit deal with the EU.
The AG issued a statement detailing the legal position of the UK Government in the Commons,
but went no further. MPs then debated a motion that the government SHOULD release this
information - a motion that comfortably passed in the House.
In response to the challenge, the Speaker of the House - John Bercow - said that there was ‘an
arguable case that a contempt has been committed’ and agreed to hold an emergency debate
early tomorrow with the Commons Standards and Privileges Committee.
Tuesday 27th November 2018
US President Donald Trump has suggested that the UK's deal with the EU over Brexit is vastly
more beneficial to the European Union and may completely block trade between the UK and
the United States in the future.
Mr Trump, who can be seen speaking to reporters below, said he believes that Theresa May
needs to look at the deal again and make amendments.
A spokesman for 10 Downing Street states that President Trump's interpretation of the deal
was wrong, saying: “The political declaration we have agreed with the EU is very clear we will
have an independent trade policy so that the UK can sign trade deals with countries around
the world – including with the US.”
The Prime Minister appeared on Channel 4 News shortly after this statement to repeat the
message, stating "We will be able to strike trade deals around the rest of the world."
Leaders of the 27 member states in the European Union have voted unanimously to approve
the UK Brexit deal, as initially agreed between negotiators nearly two weeks ago. The vote
had been under some threat from France over fishing rights and Spain over an existing
trade deal with Gibraltar, but both countries voted in line with the rest of the EU.
EU27 has endorsed the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration on the future EU-UK relations.— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) November 25, 2018
Prime Minister Theresa May now has to present the deal to the UK Parliament in the House of
Commons for approval. Her argument is that this is the best deal the UK was going to get and
the public "do not want to spend any more time arguing about Brexit" but with heavy opposition
from inside and outside her party it's looking unlikely the proposals will pass through the Commons.
Friday 23rd November 2018
Prime Minister Theresa May and her Brexit negotiators agreed the brief political blurb
to accompany the 585-page legal document for the UK/EU Brexit deal yesterday with
Jean-Claude Juncker and fellow EU negotiators, ahead of further meetings tomorrow
The EU 27 member states will then vote on the agreement on Sunday, with 20 out of 27
required to vote in favour for the deal to be approved by the European Council. Following
this the PM will then have to return to the House of Commons to present the deal formally
to MPs, which is currently expected to be rejected. ITV News and Buzzfeed News are both
reporting around 88 Tory MPs in open opposition to the plan, not including the opposition
from coalition partners the DUP, and inevitable opposition from the Labour Party.
Wednesday 21st November 2018
The chairman of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, lent his support to the government's
Brexit deal yesterday, telling the Treasury select committee that the draft deal was better
than the disastrous outcome of no deal, and that it would would “support economic
outcomes” that would be beneficial for the UK.
Mr Carney warned of an
“unprecedented supply shock” were the United Kingdom to reach
next March without some form of deal in place; a shock that would cost output and jobs,
while diminishing wages and raising inflation.
Tuesday 20th November 2018
John Allan, the chairman of the CBI (Confederation of British Industry), lent support to Theresa
May's Brexit deal in a speech yesterday, arguing that while the EU deal isn't as good as was
hoped for, it's a starting point to be worked from rather than something to be thrown away altogether.
Speaking at the CBI's annual conference, Mr Allan avoided focusing on Brexit, instead choosing
to focus on the future and Generation Z; the youth of today who the CBI feels may be left behind
as home ownership and pensions become less achievable in a climate of economic uncertainty.
Both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition spoke at the event, with the Prime Minister
following Mr Allan as the opening act of the conference. Theresa May said she " had a very clear
sense of the outcomes I wanted to deliver for people in these negotiations” and that "it is important
that we focus on the new relationship we want to build with the EU", adding that businesses need to
“step up to demonstrate that you truly have a stake in the success of this country” - a reference to
hesitation to stay in the UK and a need for greater worker training and development.
Jeremy Corbyn went on the offensive against the PM and the deal, criticising the lack of transparency
in the process and stating that Labour would vote down the deal in Parliament and, should it lose,
push for another General Election. Mr Corbyn told the conference: “It could not be clearer, business as
usual isn't working. And when the rules of the game aren't working for the overwhelming majority, the
rules of the game need to change”. The CBI responded to the Labour leader's comments, saying "the
Labour approach sounds more command and control" but agreeing that they shared the desire to
tackle inequality for workers.
Thursday 15th November 2018
Dominic Raab, the
Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, has resigned from
his position after five months in the position. In a statement, Mr Raab said "I cannot in
good conscience support the terms proposed for our deal with the EU."
Four more ministers have also resigned today; Shailesh Vara
(Minister of State at the
Northern Ireland Office), Esther McVey (Work and Pensions Secretary), Anne Marie
Trevelyan (PPS to the Education Ministers) and Suella Braverman (Department for Exiting
the European Union).
Penny Mordaunt (Secretary of State for International Development) is expected to be the
next big name resignation from the government. In response, the Pound and the FTSE 100
& 250 markets are all down, with the price of gold rising to £948 per ounce from a low £923
yesterday - investment demand suggesting a lack of faith in the Pound, Euro, or European
Tuesday 13th November 2018
It is being reported that the UK government will hold a special cabinet session tomorrow
to discuss the Brexit deal, specifically focussing on the Irish border dilemma. Reports
from The Sun newspaper and other ministers suggest that the Prime Minister Theresa
May has called for 1 to 1 meetings with all of her cabinet members this evening, ahead
of a full cabinet meeting Wednesday.
The BBC is also reporting that the EU27 states will also have a meeting on Wednesday,
perhaps replicating the UK talks, with ambassadors to congregate for the discussion.
In response to the news, Bloomberg has reported a surge in backing for the Pound to
a six-month high against the Euro, with further suggestion from Ireland's RTE News
that the text for a deal - including a backstop agreement - has finally been reached,
only hours since the UK and EU claimed they had failed in their overnight talks in Brussels.
Jo Johnson, MP for Orpington, has resigned from his cabinet positions as Minister for
Transport and Minister for London. Mr Johnson - brother of former Foreign Secretary
Boris Johnson - published a lengthy post on the website 'Medium' in which he said he
had to quit as a matter of principle over the direction of the UK's Brexit deal.
In the online statement Johnson said: "
It has become increasingly clear to me that
the Withdrawal Agreement, which is being finalised in Brussels and Whitehall even
as I write, will be a terrible mistake."
He later added "
What is now being proposed won’t be anything like what was promised
two years ago."
In response to Jo Johnson's resignation the value of Sterling fell 0.7% by the end of the
Wednesday 8th November 2018
The votes are in (mostly) and the outcome was as expected (again, mostly). The US Senate
saw the Republicans gain three seats, with most Republican seats not up for re-election at
present, while the US House of Representatives saw a large swing from Republican to
Democrat as the so-called 'blue wave' ushered in 27 new members to the house.
The election was a night of firsts, with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York (pictured right)
and Abby Finkenauer of Iowa, both 29, becoming the youngest congresswomen in history.
Ilhan Omar (Minnesota) and Rashida Tlaib (Michigan) became the first Muslim women to
be elected to the House, while Sharice Davids (Kansas) and Deb Haaland (New Mexico)
became the first two Native American women elected to the House and Democrat Jared
Polis (Colorado) became the first openly gay US governor.
The outcome means less legislative power for President Trump, but equally ensures a
stalemate to avoid undoing any of his previously enacted economic policies. The result
was a strong response from investors backing both the US Dollar and the US stock
markets - gains that would later hit the Pound and Euro.
Today is the day that America goes to the ballot boxes in the Mid-term elections, with the
public going to vote for Congress - the US equivalent of Parliament. Whereas the UK has
the House of Lords (unelected) and the House of Commons (elected MPs), the US had the
Senate and the House of Representatives (both elected). The votes cast today will be for
both tiers of Congress, with 35 senators and 435 members of the House of Representatives,
and a further 36 state governors.
Voting begins at 1pm GMT on the east coast, ending at midnight. The latest voting deadline
is Alaska, at 6am GMT Wednesday morning. The first results, from the east coast, are expected
to be revealed around 8am GMT, with more results coming throughout the day tomorrow.
The US Mid-Terms will be a big test for Donald Trump. He's no stranger to controversy and has
survived more allegations and scandals than arguably any other president. His poll ratings,
however, are very low. A swing in the House of Representatives to the Democrats could be a
sign of things to come in the second half of Trump's presidency, and the House would be able
to influence and hinder legislation to temper a lot of the current administration's goals.
In Brexit terms, the current Republican leadership are very nationalist, favouring the old USA
approach of being isolated and self-sufficient; America doesn't need anyone but itself and
will operate only to serve self interest. This roughly mirrors the UK's approach to leaving the
European Union but a Democrat administration would be a lot more in favour of European
cooperation; maintaining the special relationship with the UK but equally wanting to stay
close to Europe, especially considering many states are also in NATO.
Monday 6th November 2018
In a rather unsurprising statement, the Chief Business Economist at IHS Markit told The
Guardian newspaper that UK companies – especially those in the services sector – are
suffering because of the uncertainty surrounding Brexit.
Chris Williamson said:
“The disappointing service sector numbers bring mounting evidence
that Brexit worries are taking an increasing toll on the economy.
“Combined with the manufacturing and construction surveys, the October services PMI
points to the economy growing at a quarterly rate of just 0.2%, setting the scene for GDP
growth to weaken sharply in the fourth quarter.”
Last week data came out showing that UK manufacturing was at a 27-month low as well,
and all the indicators point towards continued economic stagnation until the UK government
and the EU can reach an agreement for Brexit.
Chancellor Philip Hammond took to Parliament at 3:30pm this afternoon to announce the
latest UK Budget, with minimal changes in the run-up to Brexit.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer promised that austerity was coming to an end, whilst
offering nearly £2 billion additional funds to the Ministry of Defence and announcing that
the UK Government was holding £15 billion in reserve as Brexit relief funds, ready for the
One criticism of the Budget was that the UK economy's growth forecasts were based on
the forecasts of the Office for Budget Responsibility, but the OBR has said that its forecasts
are not taking into account a no-deal scenario, suggesting that if a deal cannot be made
then all of the budget promises and predictions may need to be re-done. Mr Hammond did
state during his speech in the Commons that it may be necessary to have a full Spring
Budget to adequately handle the Brexit outcome.
The Irish Presidential Election results were announced on Friday, with Michael D Higgins
re-elected for a second seven-year term with 56% of the vote.
The election was the first time that an incumbent president had been challenged in the
past 50 years. Such was the unusual nature of the decision that the turnout - 1,473,900
- was far lower than the eligible level of over 3.2 million Irish citizens.
Candidates ordered by votes:
- Michael D Higgins (Independent) 822,566
- Peter Casey (Independent) 342,727
- Seán Gallagher (Independent) 94,514
- Liadh Ní Riada ( Sinn Féin) 93,987
- Joan Freeman (Independent) 87,908
- Gavin Duffy (Independent) 32,198
Saturday 20th October 2018
A 'People's March' took place in London today, with several hundred thousand protestors
taking to the streets around Westminster to demonstrate their wish for a second Brexit
referendum. London Mayor Sadiq Khan was in attendance, as were other MPs including
Labour's Chuka Umunna and Conservative MP Anna Soubry.
A large list of celebrities also appeared to lend their support to the protest, including Sir
Patrick Stewart, Delia Smith, Richard Bacon, Deborah Meaden, Bob Geldof, Eddie Izzard
Many of those in attendance believe that the UK was misled during the 2016 referendum
by the Leave campaign, with claims such as £350m per week to come back to the NHS
deemed a falsehood. Others, including Dragon's Den star Deborah Meaden, cited the reports
that the Leave campaign had broken campaign spending regulations on the way to the
Leave vote's victory.
Prime Minister Theresa May met in Brussels for the planned summit with fellow European
leaders, as well as EU President Donald Tusk and Michel Barnier, the chief negotiator for
Brexit on the EU's side.
Discussions at the summit were unsuccessful, with the Northern Ireland situation at the
heart of the disagreements; the 27 EU members are insisting that there be a backstop
agreement which means Northern Ireland has a partial Brexit, to avoid a hard border with
either the Republic of Ireland or with the mainland UK. Theresa May, Dominic Raab, and
the rest of the negotiating team are opposed to this, citing the fact that Northern Ireland
is part of the UK and what applies to one should apply to all.
The next Brexit summit, set to be the final one, was scheduled for November but has since
been cancelled. The belief is that the removal of a time deadline will ease the tensions
between the UK and EU and that a meeting can be arranged once a preliminary agreement
Monday 15th October 2018
Brexit minister Dominic Raab made an impromptu trip to Brussels yesterday for talks with EU
negotiators ahead of the upcoming round of talks between the PM and EU leaders.
Mr Raab's trip was seen as a promising sign, but the reports from the meeting suggest yet
more stalemate between the two parties, with the EU seeking more reassurances that Brexit
won't result in a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.
The German media is reporting that Theresa May has secretly agreed to a backstop deal with
the EU, despite publicly saying a backstop must apply to the whole UK. The backstop would
temporarily treat Northern Ireland differently to the rest of the UK for trade purposes.
Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Conservatives leader, has sent a letter to the Prime Minister
threatening to resign if such a deal is implemented, while former Foreign Secretary Boris
Johnson wrote in The Telegraph about the EU " treating us with naked contempt" and the DUP
told The Observer that a no-deal Brexit was the probable outcome for the UK now.
Thursday 11th October 2018
Senior cabinet ministers are due to meet with the Prime Minister for a special Brexit session at
5pm UK time. The meeting, called by Theresa May, is preparation for the EU summit next week
- the penultimate session to negotiate Brexit with Europe's leaders.
Tuesday 9th October 2018
The Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzō Abe, has said that the United Kingdom would be welcomed
"with open arms" into the Pacific free trade pact. Speaking to the Financial Times, Prime Minister
Abe acknowledge that Britain would no longer be a gateway into Europe following Brexit, but was
still "equipped with global strength".
A post-Brexit deal with Japan is promising, given the fact that over 1,000 Japanese companies
operate in Britain employing approximately 140,000 people, but the Transatlantic Trade Partnership
(TTP) isn't without its own problems. President Trump already ruled the USA out of such a deal,
calling it a bad deal.
In the UK, the Labour Party also opposes the proposal, with leader Jeremy Corbyn saying at an
event back in 2016 (when TTP was first proposed): "Many people are concerned, rightly, that it
could open up public services to further privatisation – and make privatisation effectively irreversible.
"Others are concerned about any potential watering down of consumer rights, food safety standards,
rights at work or environmental protections and the facility for corporations to sue national
governments if regulations impinged on their profits. I share those concerns."
Monday 8th October 2018
The Industrial Strategy Council, an organisation designed to investigate the UK's low productivity
rates, has appointed the Bank of England's Chief Economist to be its chair. Andy Haldane will lead
the monitoring group, reporting back on infrastructure, innovation, and the state of the workplace.
The council was announced a year ago by business secretary Greg Clark, with Liberal Democrat
leader Sir Vince Cable criticising the delay in finding a chairperson and claiming “Brexit has sucked
the energy out of Whitehall”.
Accountancy group Deloitte has published a new study today which reports that British businesses
are now the most anxious or concerned about Brexit since the announcement of the referendum result.
Their survey of 95 CFOs reported that only 13% were more optimistic about business prospects than they
were three months ago – an 11% drop from their July report. The report echoes the concerns of the British
Chambers of Commerce from last month, which warned of growth slowing to the point of recession.
79% of the surveyed CFOs said they expect the business environment to be worse in the long-term – a 4%
rise from July, with half of the group saying they will slow down their hiring rates as they remain cautious.
Halifax is reporting that UK house prices and buying have both dropped in the past month, also citing
Brexit concerns as the reason that prospective buyers are holding off committing to such serious
The number of homes for sale was a decade low, while the average house price dropped by 1.4% from
August to September. Many regions did report house price rises, but availability of properties was still
down and it's believed that this is what drove those increases.
Friday 5th October 2018
Ireland's Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, believes that there's a
" the UK could reach a
Brexit agreement at the EU summit in November. Speaking to reporters today, Mr Varadkar said he
was "very keen " for a resolution, citing talks with the European Council President, Donald Tusk, last
night and hinting that both the UK and EU were willing to make concessions to avoid a hard border.
Ministers from the pro-Remain parties in Northern Ireland met with Michel Barnier and the EU's Brexit
co-coordinator Guy Verhofstadt this morning to discuss their fears about Brexit and the implications
of a hard border. Representatives of Sinn Féin, the SDLP, the Alliance Party and the Green Party met in
Brussels, with Sinn Féin and the SDLP insisting that Stormont (aka the Northern Irish assembly) did not
have a say over the last-resort backstop that is being debated by the UK and EU. Their opinion is that,
due to the lack of instituted government in Northern Ireland, that Stormont is effectively the DUP at the
moment, which gives them the power to veto a final Brexit resolution.
The DUP spoke out today on the matter of the Irish border, saying that a hybrid backstop, with light
regulation of goods travelling between the EU and the UK, would not be acceptable.
Adam Price, the new leader of Plaid Cymru, is leading calls for Welsh independence in the event of a
hard Brexit. Mr Price wants a second referendum to “avert disaster” but said that a hard Irish border
and no access to the EU single market would raise the demand for Scottish independence and Irish
unity, leaving Wales “at the mercy of Westminster”.
Thursday 4th October 2018
The CEO of the Royal Bank of Scotland, Ross McEwan, has said today that a no-deal Brexit could be the
trigger for recession, and pointed to the strong caution in the construction industry as an indicator of
the reduced levels of investment that might be to come if a deal isn't reached.
Speaking to the BBC, McEwan said:
"We are assuming 1-1.5% growth for next year, but if we get a bad
Brexit then that could be zero or negative, and that would affect our profitability and our share price.
"Big businesses are pausing; they are saying that in six months time I’ll have another look at the UK and
I might come back, but if it’s really bad I’ll invest elsewhere – that’s the reality of where we are today."
Gold is currently at £925.33 per ounce, with the strong US Dollar and US stock markets still pressing down
on the gold price, but the Brexit concerns are keeping prices £20 per ounce higher than those a week ago.
The Conservative Party conference ended today, with Prime Minister Theresa May's speech concluding
the event. The PM said there would be no possibility of another Brexit referendum, suggesting it would
be a case of "a politicians' vote, with politicians simply telling people they got it wrong".
Many people, including Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, pointed out that the speech made no mention of
the Chequers Proposal - the same proposal rejected recently at a summit in Austria - which might suggest
the UK Government is willing to soften its stance on the Irish border regulations and reach a compromise.
Tuesday 2nd October 2018
The price of gold surged on Tuesday to a high of £931 per ounce; a 2% rise in value and a gain of £18.60
per ounce. Fears of an Italian debt crisis were the main driving factor for gold demand, but gold's price was
boosted by the concerns of wary investors. Nerves are beginning to show with only weeks left for the UK to
present an acceptable deal to the European Parliament.
A warning from Northern Ireland's DUP to the Conservatives was behind a lot of these nerves, with Arlene
Foster, the leader of the DUP, calling it "totally irresponsible" if the UK government allows a hard border to be
implemented in the event of no Brexit deal being reached next month.