THE LEX COLUMN: Brexit spring is spun
Chancellor of the exchequer takes an optimistic view of the UK economy
If the UK was a company, its latest outlook — Wednesday’s “spring statement” — would have attracted scorn for its misleading optimism. “Finance director” Philip Hammond admitted growth would dip this year but expected a catch-up subsequently. His references to a “remarkably robust” performance that had “defied expectations” were straight out of an investor relations script. His forecasts assumed the swift resolution of a dispute with the UK’s biggest customer and supplier. He did not quantify the cost of no-deal with the EU, nor even of failing to lift the “cloud of uncertainty”. When bosses lose control of the narrative, sensible investors make their own judgments. Whatever Britain’s relations with others, the forces driving UK government bond yields lower recently have been the same as those shaping borrowing costs globally — slower economic growth, low inflation and policy reversals by central banks. Unlike Greece or Italy in the eurozone crisis, there is little risk of a UK defa...