Sentiment regarding the UK economy is mixed as Brexit looms

UK Grassroots


Interviews with consumers in the UK revealed that 25% believe the current economy is stable, similar to the December 2017 Grassroots® survey, while 28% said it is improving slightly or significantly, a 3% increase vs. December.

Interviews with consumers in the UK revealed that 25% believe the current economy is stable, similar to the December 2017 Grassroots® survey, while 28% said it is improving slightly or significantly, a 3% increase vs. December. In addition, 28% are more optimistic about the economy currently vs. six months ago compared to 27% in December. Looking ahead, similar to December, 21% of sources believe the economy will remain stable in the next six months, while 33% believe it will deteriorate slightly (vs. 35% in December), and 24% believe it will improve slightly.

Meanwhile, 28% of sources said their current household financial situation is improving slightly or significantly, a 7% increase vs. December. Looking ahead, 55% cited concern regarding their employment status in the next six months vs. 56% in December. In addition, 16% of sources cited significant concern regarding the potential negative impact of volatility in the stock market on their financial situation in the next six months, a 4% increase vs. December.

As to Brexit, 49% of sources believe it will cause the economy to deteriorate slightly or significantly in the long term, a 4% increase vs. December. In addition, 40% believe Brexit will have a negative impact on their household financial situation vs. 39% in December. When asked about savings plans, 32% of sources said they plan to save slightly or significantly more due to Brexit vs. 30% in December.


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At the start of 2018, investors were concerned about overheated markets: US tax reform had just been passed, the global synchronised growth story was intact and the S&P 500 index had gained 7.5% by the end of January. What a difference a year makes.

Key takeaways

  • 2018 proved to be quite a difficult year for most investors globally; in 2019, we expect modest US market returns and volatility to remain elevated
  • Key themes for 2019: the Fed nearing the end of its rate-hiking cycle; a global slowdown and US recession watch; and potential volatility from uncertainty in trade, politics and consumption.
  • With expectations for lower S&P 500 earnings growth and contracting multiples, markets are better-poised for upside surprises in upcoming quarters