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News that the U.K.'s departure from the E.U. has been delayed by six months, unless MPs ratify the existing deal sooner, appears to have done little to revive confidence among businesses.
Households' willingness to save a smaller fraction of their incomes goes a long way to explaining why the U.K. economy hasn't lost too much momentum since the Brexit vote.
It would be a mistake to conclude from July's car registrations data that the market finally has turned a corner.
The 10.3% year-over-year decline in private new car registrations in April likely is not a sign that the trend in either vehic le sales or consumers' overall spending is taking a turn f or the worse.
Gilts continued to rally last week, with 10-year yields dropping to their lowest since October 2016, and the gap between two-year and 10-year yields narrowing to the smallest margin since September 2008.
Data from trade body U.K. Finance show that mortgage lending has remained unyielding in the face of heightened economic and political uncertainty.
The steady decline in mortgage rates since the financial crisis has helped to underpin strong growth in household spending. Existing borrowers have been able to refinance loans at ever-lower interest rates, while the proportion of first-time buyers' incomes absorbed by interest and capital payments has declined to a record low. As a result, the proportion of annual household incomes taken up by interest payments has fallen to 4.6%, from a peak of 10% in 2008.
The recent pick-up in mortgage approvals is another sign that households are unperturbed by the risk of a no-deal Brexit.
Sterling has appreciated sharply over the last two weeks and yesterday briefly touched its highest level against the euro since May 2017.
House prices are on course to rise only by around 2% this year, the smallest increase for five years.
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