NewsUK elections: Financial stability predicted amid potential change

UK elections: Financial stability predicted amid potential change

The United Kingdom is holding elections.
The United Kingdom is holding elections.
Images source: © Getty Images | Ian Forsyth
Robert Kędzierski

4 July 2024 10:29

The United Kingdom is holding elections in the House of Commons on Thursday. Charu Chanana from Saxo Bank analyzed the potential outcomes of the elections. The expert predicts stability in financial markets despite a possible change in government but warns of potential risks to the pound.

Elections in the United Kingdom are being held on Thursday, 4 July 2024. Polls are giving the Labour Party a victory, with a chance to regain power after a 14-year hiatus. As noted by Saxo Bank in its analysis, the pre-election discussion in the media has been dominated by topics of economic policy, healthcare, immigration, and climate change.

Charu Chanana emphasizes that the Labour Party has a 20% lead over the Conservatives in the polls. "Prime Minister Sunak's Conservative Party has struggled to gain traction, with some of their supporters shifting to Nigel Farage's Reform Party. This shift has allowed Labour to secure a substantial double-digit lead in the polls," she explains.

Predicted economic policy of the new government

The Saxo Bank expert highlights the new government's limited budgetary capabilities. "Drawing parallels to the 1997 election, when Tony Blair and his Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown emphasized fiscal prudence in the early years, is relevant. More recently, Liz Truss’s short and tumultuous tenure as prime minister highlighted how bond markets can effectively curtail politicians' fiscal ambitions."

Chanana also notes that the Labour Party's manifesto does not contain radical spending plans, suggesting that its leader, Keir Starmer and Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves are likely to continue a conservative fiscal policy given the high level of debt.

Stabilisation of the British economy

According to the analysis's author, specific signals indicate that the British economy is stabilising after last year's brief recession. "Forward-looking indicators such as the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) and consumer confidence are improving, while monthly GDP shows positive trends," Saxo Bank reports.

"Although services inflation remains high, easing goods inflation is lowering headline inflation, possibly prompting the Bank of England to consider cutting interest rates, possibly earlier than the US Federal Reserve," adds Chanana.

The expert predicts that "a stable policy stance under a Labour government would likely sustain this economic trajectory, bolstered by long-term tailwinds. With immediate fiscal options constrained, the focus is expected to shift towards supply-side reforms, potentially supporting the UK economy's recovery from Brexit over the long term."

Prospects for British assets

Saxo Bank notes that forecasts of political stabilisation after the elections have made British financial markets appear resilient to electoral fluctuations.

"Any potential market retreat could present a favorable opportunity to position for the UK economy's ongoing rebound from the challenges of Brexit, Covid-19, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and the instability under Liz Truss's government, which triggered significant outflows from equities and bonds," the analysis states.

The analyst lists key factors that make British stocks attractive: "High dividend: UK equities offer the highest dividend yield among all the key markets. Sector composition: The index has a balanced mix of defensive and commodity exposures. Low beta coefficient: UK equities have a low beta to global equities, suggesting they can enhance portfolio diversification."

Forecast for the British pound

The Saxo Bank expert warns: "The Bank of England seems to lack any urgency in lowering the interest rate, though it is expected to do so gently over the coming months, perhaps to 4.75% by its January policy meeting. However, this sense of complacency might be challenged if Labour's victory isn't as strong as anticipated." Chanana explains: "Sterling has been the top performer in the G10 FX space due to a stabilizing economy, high yield, the Bank of England's lack of urgency to cut rates, and expectations of political stability."

At the same time, the expert notes: "However, GBP may have room to stay supported against the EUR, particularly if election outcomes in France and UK remain divergent. UK’s political and fiscal stability comes in a stark contrast with unstable dynamics in the Eurozone, suggesting that the path of least resistance for EURGBP in the medium-term could be lower."

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