After months of economic uncertainty and Brexit delays, changing political and economic conditions are signalling opportunities for growth now and in the future. A Brexit deal looks more likely than it has since the start of negotiations with the EU, with polls showing that the incumbent prime minister is likely to win a majority in the coming election. Moreover, strong holiday sales indicate growing consumer confidence, calming business fears.
As a result, foreign exchange strategists predict the pound sterling to strengthen in the coming year, giving UK businesses more buying power abroad. This will bring down import costs, giving retailers and other businesses that rely on foreign suppliers an additional shot in the arm. By planning for and investing in growth now, businesses can begin to immediately take advantage of changing conditions, providing themselves even more growth potential in the coming year.
Economists consider no-deal Brexit averted
With the passing of the second Brexit deadline at the end of October, much of the threat of a no-deal Brexit has ended. Economists polled by Reuters recently now consider a “disorderly Brexit” to be the more unlikely than at any point since the Brexit referendum in 2016. Instead, they expect London and Brussels to agree to a free trade deal. This is due to a number of factors, but largely boils down to the fact that the pressures driving the previous push toward no-deal have evaporated.
The EU is prepared to wait
The EU has proven accomodating with regard to the timing of Brexit, showing that they will not force the UK out without a deal. This is because holding them to a deadline is counterproductive to their goals, which is to keep the UK in the EU, or to preserve trade ties as much as possible. By simply waiting for the UK to make its own decision, the bloc will automatically receive a better result than by enforcing the deadline.
A deal is now likely to be passed
Prime Minister Boris Johnson pushed for a no-deal Brexit because he considered it his best chance of getting the UK out of the EU before the October deadline. Now that it has passed, and an election has been called, figures show that the PM will likely have the support to pass a deal in parliament. Johnson is expected to win a majority in the December 12 election, meaning that a Withdrawal Agreement Bill could reasonably be ratified in time for the new January deadline.
Business is looking up with Holiday sales starting strong
Barclaycard, which processes approximately a third of all transactions in the UK, has called early holiday sales “outstanding”, with transaction values increasing 16.5 percent over last year for Black Friday. Cyber Monday, for its part, has enjoyed a rise of 6.9 per cent in sales over 2018. This shows that it’s not just politicians and economists who are seeing improvements, but also regular consumers.
Overall this is most promising for the retail sector, which has struggled considerably over the past several years. To make the most of increased holiday demand now, and expected growing consumer confidence in the coming year, they’ll need to plan ahead and invest in growth.
Businesses need help in boosting growth investment
UK retailers, among several other sectors, have struggled over the past few years. This can make it difficult to come up with the necessary funds to recover even when customers reappear. Fortunately, even businesses who may not have access to sufficient credit to fund their growth strategy have off-balance sheet financing options like supply chain finance available to them.
Supply chain finance helps businesses to react to growing demand
The most important issue to address when demand recovers is to be able to stock enough products to meet it. Supply chain finance allows businesses to pay suppliers indirectly, without dipping into their limited working capital. Instead, their financial institution makes payment on their behalf while allowing the business to defer their own payment to the financial institution by up to 90 days after the supplier invoice is issued.
This allows businesses to purchase the supplies they need, and to use those supplies to generate profit, before making the supplier payment. In effect, this extends their payment terms to up to 90 days. As a result, they can quickly and flexibly adapt to growing demand, maximising their profit potential. By taking advantage of strong holiday sales now, UK businesses boost profits immediately, and set themselves up for a strong growth year in 2020.