about 1 year ago • 2 mins
The UK economy unexpectedly scored in November, after the World Cup kicked Brits into shape.
What does this mean?
British life is looking stereotypically gray: inflation’s still squeezing budgets, manufacturing orders are dwindling, and public sector strikes are putting a pin in business as usual. But Brits are keeping a characteristically stiff upper lip: the services sector plucked up quicker than expected, while production and construction – the other two major drivers of the UK’s economy – held their own. All in all, the country’s economy picked up 0.1% in November, surprising skeptical analysts.
And one especially hardy gang deserves a massive participation medal: according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), sports fans were the economy’s MVP in November. They hit the town no matter the score during the World Cup, celebrating victories with a greasy bag of fish and chips and drowning defeats with an ale. So if the government wants to kick consumer spending up a gear, it knows where to find the right fans for the job.
Why should I care?
For markets: London’s lovely this time of year.
Now, one solid month doesn’t guarantee a full-fleshed recovery, and the UK still has plenty of lemons to squash if it wants a pint of lemonade. But the news is a glimmer of hope for down-in-the-dumps British assets: the country’s currency has been looking more like pennies than pounds, and investors still aren’t sold on the future of UK stocks. That does mean, though, that they’re going for less these days, so if you believe in Britain’s recovery, they could be a cheap bet on long-term riches.
Zooming out: Just keep swimming.
The UK’s been labeled an ugly ducking lately, but now the country’s transformed into a, uh, slightly less ugly duckling. And it’s not swimming solo, either: Europe and the US are standing firm in the face of relentless rate hikes too. That’s not enough to completely turn the recessionary tide, mind you, but it could mean the current’s a little weaker than expected.
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