• The rate of UK interest rate rises over the next year will depend heavily on Britain’s Brexit negotiations with the EU, Bank of England governor Mark Carney signalled on Friday. He said in Davos that the ability of the UK economy to grow — plus the future direction of the exchange rate, trade costs and spending — would hinge significantly on the talks with the other 27 EU member states, and those negotiations would influence the level of interest rates. With British economic growth estimated at 0.5 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2017 by the UK statistics watchdog on Friday, above most economists’ expectations, there are rising expectations that the BoE will increase interest rates sooner rather than later this year. (The FT)
  • UK Brexit Secretary David Davis has set out government ambitions for a “stand-still” transition period, largely reflecting the EU’s plan for a time-limited extension with maintained market access and all the constraints of membership. The UK also wants a safeguard mechanism for any new legislation that is prejudicial to British interests and a voice in major foreign-policy decisions. In a significant U-turn, it also wants to maintain the EU’s external trade agreements beyond 2019 and during the transition period. The UK had previously been planning to exit these agreement, and was preparing to replicate them on a bilateral basis. (MLEX)
  • A majority of UK companies are gearing up for a no-deal Brexit, as time runs out for the government to provide clarity on a transition period with the EU after March 2019 or the shape of a future trade deal with the bloc, according to new research. A survey by the CBI, the employers’ organisation, found more than 60 per cent of companies had either implemented contingency plans to cope with the risk of Britain’s crashing out of the EU without an agreement or intended to do so. (The FT)
  • Voters support the idea of holding a second EU referendum by a 16-point margin, according to one of the largest nationwide opinion polls since the Brexit vote. The ICM survey, conducted as part of a Guardian reporting project, found 47% of people would favour having a final say on Brexit once the terms of the UK’s departure are known, while 34% oppose reopening the question. Excluding the roughly one-fifth who do not have a view gives a lead of 58% to 42% for a second referendum, showing rising interest in the idea as concern grows over the direction of recent negotiations. (The Guardian)
  • David Davis has said there is “no difference” between him, the chancellor and prime minister following a Tory row over the terms of a Brexit transition. The Brexit Secretary said all three wanted the UK’s exit from the EU in March 2019 to “serve the British economy… and the British people”. There was a “diversity of views” in all parties and EU member states, he said. (BBC)