Workers load and unload boxes of fresh fruit and vegetables from trucks at a warehouse in south London | Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty Images
Brexit stockpiling boosts UK economy in February
But a no-deal Brexit could tip the U.K. into a two-year recession.
Updated 4/10/19, 1:20 PM CET
The U.K. economy grew in February, by 0.2 percent from January, as manufacturers churned out goods for clients stockpiling ahead of Brexit, data from the Office for National Statistics showed Wednesday.
The figures show Britain’s economy grew by 0.3 percent in the three months to February, with GDP growth hitting 2 percent year-on-year.
But while February’s growth beat economists’ forecasts, growth looks set to be the weakest in a decade this year amid the uncertainty around Britain’s departure from the European Union, according to forecasts from the IMF and the Bank of England.
Earlier this week, the International Monetary Fund forecast that a worst-case, no-deal Brexit scenario, with severe border disruption and the imposition of tariffs, could tip the U.K. into a two-year recession, with GDP growth sliding by 1.4 percent and 0.8 percent in the first years after leaving the EU.
Britain’s economy would be expected to grow by 1.2 percent this year, if a Brexit deal is agreed, the IMF predicted in its World Economic Outlook, which was completed in March.
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May has asked EU27 leaders for another Brexit delay, to June 30, to give parliament more time to try to agree a withdrawal deal.