Half a trillion pounds disappear from Britain’s coffers in stunning writedown that equals a quarter of nation’s GDP
Its supposed surplus up in smoke, the UK is in a much weaker position going into Brexit than anyone realized
Global banks and international bond strategists have been left stunned by revised Office of National Statistics figures showing that Britain is 490 billion pounds poorer than assumed and no longer has any reserve of net foreign assets, depriving the country of its safety margin as Brexit talks reach a crucial juncture.
A massive write-down in the U.K. balance of payments data shows that Britain’s stock of wealth — the net international investment position — has collapsed from a surplus of 469 billion pounds to a net deficit of 22 billion pounds. This transforms the outlook for sterling and the gilts markets. “Half a trillion pounds has gone missing. This is equivalent to 25 per cent of GDP,” said Mark Capleton, U.K. rates strategist at Bank of America.
Making matters worse, foreign direct investment (FDI) by companies is plummeting. It fell from a 120 billion pounds surplus in the first half 2016 to a 25 billion pounds deficit over the same period of this year. The apparent resilience of FDI flows shortly after Brexit was an illusion: the spending that took place in late 2016 had already been committed earlier. The big devaluation since late 2015 automatically improved the UK’s net asset profile enormously but clearly not enough. The supposed surplus has gone up in smoke. It implies that the UK’s underlying position going into the referendum was much weaker than anybody realized. The concern is that the external forces supporting sterling and gilts are all in doubt as major central banks tighten policy and drain global liquidity.
"The ice age is coming, the sun is zooming in
Meltdown expected, the wheat is growin' thin
Engines stop running, but I have no fear
'Cause London is drowning, and I, I live by the river"
The shitshow continues.