• Theresa May announces UK has secured its first post-Brexit trade deal during trip to Africa: Theresa May has announced that the UK has secured its first post-Brexit trade deal during her trip to boost British exports in Africa. The prime minister confirmed that Britain would replicate the SACU (Southern African Customs Union) agreement which the EU currently has with six southern African nations. She also added that the UK would invest an additional £4bn in African economies, with the hope of further match investment from the private sector to come. Countries in the SACU agreement include Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland, with Mozambique also included in the pact with the EU that the UK will take on. Britain plans to take on all of the EU’s current trade deals after Brexit with agreement of the other country’s involved, but the announcement that the first has been locked in will be a boost to Ms May. But at a press conference after her speech Ms May was forced to deny she was “late to the party”, with African leaders she is meeting this week having already met and formed relations with leaders of other large economies – including President Trump, President Xi of China and Emmanuel Macron of France. (Independent)
  • Brexit economy – Turning up the heat on household finances: The British economy is failing to deliver stronger growth in workers’ pay, as the mounting risk of a no-deal Brexit turns up the pressure on household finances, according to a Guardian analysis of economic developments over the past month. Pay growth in Britain has dropped to its weakest in almost a year despite the unemployment rate hitting a 43-year low. At the same time, recent weakness in the pound amid the growing chance of a no-deal Brexit is poised to push up the rate of inflation, triggering a renewed squeeze on living standards. Despite some pockets of strength for the economy, there are growing signs of weakness after the Bank of England raised interest rates above the emergency level set since the financial crisis. (The Guardian)
  • Theresa May says a no-deal Brexit ‘wouldn’t be the end of the world’: Theresa May claimed that a no-deal Brexit “wouldn’t be the end of the world” as she sought to downplay a controversial warning made by Philip Hammond last week that it would cost £80bn in extra borrowing and inhibit long-term economic growth. The prime minister conceded that crashing out of the European Union without a deal “wouldn’t be a walk in the park” but went on to argue that the UK could make an economic success of the unprecedented situation if it proved impossible to negotiate a satisfactory divorce. Her comments were designed to distance herself from pessimistic Treasury forecasts highlighted by the chancellor at the end of last week, predictions that incensed the Tory right and led to renewed calls from hard Brexiters for Hammond’s dismissal. May also distanced herself from comments recently made by David Lidington, the cabinet office minister, who had suggested that the exit talks could drag on beyond the October summit to the end of the year because there was so much that had not yet been resolved. (The Guardian)