The EU referendum is the single factor posing the greatest risk to the UK and global financial markets, the Bank of England has warned.
The central bank said the issue is making it harder to interpret the latest sets of economic data and they are more cautious on drawing inferences from them than would normally be the case. They stated that the referendum has already had an economic impact where delays are being seen in major economic decisions, including commercial and residential real estate transactions, car purchases and business investment.
Helal Miah, investment research analyst at The Share Centre, said: “In the last significant statement from the Bank of England before the EU Referendum next week, policy makers were unanimous in keeping the status quo on interest rates and the level of QE, noting the weak inflation over the last year of 0.3% due to drags from the lower oil price.
“On release of the statement, sterling fell further against the dollar, touching $1.41. This is on the back of the Bank’s statement that the Monetary Policy Committee will do whatever is needed to ensure inflation expectations are well anchored – meaning the possibility of a rate cut.
“Clearly the Bank of England is concerned, as are the global financial markets whose selloff over recent weeks can be closely tracked to the increasing probability of a Brexit. Aside from this though, actual data releases this week have on the whole been relatively good. Inflation was in-line with expectations while the unemployment numbers and wage growth were encouraging. And [Thursday] morning’s retail sales figures continue to suggest that consumers are not fretting.
“Our customers have been asking us what they should do in the current climate, and our suggestion in most cases is to stay put and not to make wholesale changes to a portfolio. Selling an investment portfolio is risky in that investors could miss out on any recovery, especially since the most likely scenario is still a ‘remain’ vote. However, investors should leave some cash aside for potential buying opportunities if we leave.”