“As Prime Minister Theresa May tries to force through her Brexit deal, a spectre looming in the background is growing ever larger — what if there is no deal? Life after March 29, 2019 would suddenly become a lot more complicated in Britain with everything from flying to food becoming affected…
“The cost of food will skyrocket, shortages will be common and an immediate consequence is likely to be fresh fruit and vegetables destined for Britain rotting at EU borders as import-export controls are thrown into confusion. “The biggest single challenge will be in a no-deal scenario and what happens with fresh food,” food giant Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis told Britain’s Independent newspaper last month. Dominic Raab, Brexit Secretary until quitting Thursday, has already suggested grocers should start stockpiling goods…
“A study commissioned by Barclays bank said food and drink entering the U.K. from the EU would be subject to a new average tariff of 27 per cent. Reuters reported that among the highest levies would be frozen beef (300 per cent tariff) and orange juice (180 per cent tariff)…
“On Thursday, police said they feared a no-deal Brexit would lead to violence, widespread disruption, panic-buying because of rationing, and other dangers for which they were not prepared. In an interview with Sky News, Simon Kempton, the operational policing lead for the Police Federation of England and Wales, said “…where people can’t feed themselves, potentially, where people can’t get their insulin, potentially, it’s a real concern that those protests might escalate into disorder.” He added, “This is 2018, it’s the year people dialled (emergency services) because KFC ran out of chicken. If that can happen, imagine what will happen if we start to see food or medical supply shortages.”
“Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter said the military was “thinking hard” about what a no-deal scenario would entail, especially if ports and roads were blocked. The military makes “sensible contingency plans for all sorts of eventualities” he told the BBC, adding, “we stand ready to help in any way we can.””
“A government in crisis. A Brexit process in free-fall. A Prime Minister (as at the time of writing) hanging on by her fingernails… [a no-deal scenario would mean] food and medicine shortages, endless border queues for people and vehicles, a sharp drop in the pound and in the UK’s credit rating, export chaos, substantial job losses, a house price collapse and food price inflation. National security and public safety are just as much at risk…”
“Retail sales fell in October, adding to the gloom on the British high street as official figures showed that shoppers kept a tight rein on spending amid growing Brexit uncertainty.
“Sales volumes dropped by 0.5% from September, in contrast to forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists for a rise of 0.2%.”
“The take up of new rental tenancies across prime central London decreased by no less than 12.7 per cent in the third quarter of this year compared to the same period of 2017.
“Even worse, the figure is 22.1 per cent down on the five-year average for the third quarters of each year.”
“Many firms are keeping much of their operations in China, which offers a giant domestic market and advantages that businesses struggle to find elsewhere.
“But those that are moving aren’t flocking to the United States…
Instead, they’re looking to transfer work to other Asian countries.”
“Massive domestic debt has long been a headache for Beijing, but it is China’s growing external US dollar leverage that is being underestimated and it could possibly trigger a major financial crisis…
“China’s US$3 trillion dollar debt makes it especially vulnerable because of tightening US dollar liquidity, a weakening yuan and the ongoing US-China trade war…”
“The sugar rush that President Donald Trump’s tax cuts and fiscal stimulus injected into the U.S. economy poses a quandary for the Federal Reserve and its chairman, Jerome Powell, in their campaign to raise interest rates: where and when to stop? …overtightening could backfire as the economic benefits from Trump’s policies wear thin, perhaps exacerbating the surging market volatility that reared its head in October.”
“[Elizabeth Warren] said Thursday that she thinks the Federal Reserve and its fellow watchdogs of the financial system are overlooking a dangerous buildup of loans going to companies that are already deeply in debt.
“The so-called leveraged loans helped undermine the financial system before and are building up again, now totaling $1.1 trillion.”
“The buildup of risky debt in corporate credit markets has caught the attention of the Bank of England and the US Federal Reserve. It’s also been highlighted by global fund managers in the latest industry survey by Bank of America Merril Lynch. Now the International Monetary Fund (IMF) added to the clamour, warning that an unwinding of the market in so-called “leveraged loans” — credit from non-bank lenders to risky or highly-indebted companies — could have untold consequences for the global economy.”
“One of the top bankers in the euro zone has described bitcoin as “the evil spawn of the financial crisis” …Speaking a day after International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde urged central banks to look into issuing digital currencies, Mr Cœuré outlined the experiments that monetary authorities have been doing around the world on crypto tokens and distributed-ledger technologies.”
“The International Energy Agency said on Wednesday that while US demand for oil has been “very robust,” demand in Europe and developed Asian countries “continues to be relatively weak.” The IEA also warned of a “slowdown” in demand in developing nations such as India, Brazil and Argentina caused by high oil prices, weak currencies and deteriorating economic activity.
“”The outlook for the global economy has deteriorated,” the IEA wrote.”
“These developments suggest the synchronised growth that the global economy has enjoyed in recent years is likely to be replaced by a generalised slowdown… The message of weakening demand on the oil front was reinforced by the falling price of copper. The base metal is often referred to as “Dr Copper” on its presumed ability to forecast the peaks and troughs of business cycles since it is used in different areas of the economy such as homes, factories and electricity generation.”
“…the Baltic Dry Index has dropped over 10% since Monday with Bloomberg reporting a fall to just above 1,000 points “despite only modest expansion in fleet capacity, the usual culprit when rates collapse. This time, it’s about waning growth in Chinese demand.””