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UK Industry Report: Q1 2018

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Tepid First Quarter Growth for the UK in Q1 2018

A few weeks ago, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed the first of the year’s economic figures, which highlighted a slow first quarter for the United Kingdom. The economy had grown just 0.1%, a stark contrast to the 0.4% growth of the nation’s last quarter and the 1.2% of its 2017 first quarter results. These numbers have, in turn, triggered a reduction of the country’s growth forecast for the year by 0.1%. Since then, the ONS release has also prompted a series of downgrades from ‘stable’ to ‘deteriorating’ for the nation’s rating and market environment outlooks. These changes represent a reversal of the UK’s previous economic profile in last month’s ‘Country Insight Snapshot’ report, which featured the country at ‘stable’ readings in both outlook classes.

The Global Outlook for 2018

Several important negotiations and recovery efforts remain ongoing, the results of which will present either a threat or boon to the global economic outlook of governments and corporations. Here are a few trends which have seen extensive coverage in recent months to remain on the lookout for in the remainder of 2018:

Trade Relations Between the US and China

In the continuing negotiations between the United States and China, delays or de-escalation of the contentious tariff impositions of recent months are likely actions that will be frequently deployed by the two powers over the next quarters. Although the risk of an all-out trade war has somewhat receded in the last weeks, the potential resurgence of earlier tit-for-tat tariff hikes between the two powers still remains a point of concern among governments and finance leaders.

Trade Responses from the EU, Canada, and Latin America

Just recently the EU and Mexico upgraded their trade pact. However, it is likely that Mexico, Canada, Brazil and the EU may need to decide as early as June how to respond to the unilateral imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs by the US after the expiration of their temporary waivers.

Fluctuating Commodity Pricing

In response to recent volatility following the US’s dissolution from the Iran Nuclear Deal, oil prices have broken the $70 per barrel mark. In the meantime, output in Venezuela continues to be curtailed by internal political dynamics that threaten the possibility of more consolidated commodity prices and firm inflation pressures experienced by businesses and governments on an international level.

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