Brexit Vote Impact Won’t Show Up in Data Until August, ONS Says

  • Surveys suggest referendum uncertainty stymied outlook
  • Bank of England officials take policy decision next week

Here's Why the U.K. Is Not in That Bad a Position

Those watching Britain’s economy for post-Brexit effects have to wait until August.

The U.K.’s statistics office said Wednesday that inflation figures -- published on August 16 -- will be the first to shed light on how the outcome of the U.K.’s decision to quit the European Union is affecting the official data. While many of the earlier publications will cover some weeks of June, they largely capture the pre-referendum period, the Office for National Statistics said in its quarterly Economic Review.

Some surveys suggest uncertainty stemming from the vote was hampering the economy before the shock result. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney -- who chairs an initial meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee on Wednesday -- has warned of a “material slowing,” while data published by YouGov Plc and the Centre for Economics and Business Research on Tuesday showed pessimism about the outlook has almost doubled. 

“Any potential impact from the recent EU referendum may feed through to ONS economic statistics over a longer time horizon,” the statistics office said. “Respondents to ONS surveys during this pre-referendum period have not so far indicated that the referendum has had much effect on the figures in their returns.”

The lag in the official data highlights the challenge faced by policy makers. While Carney signaled the central bank could cut interest rates within months, he also stressed the high level of uncertainty and said it was likely to remain elevated for some time. Officials are due to announce their next policy decision on July 14, and will make new forecasts for growth and inflation on August 4.

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