The three big trends which will affect your finances this year
Smart Money: Brexit, world economy wobbles and interest rates are vital signs for 2019
Time to look ahead to 2019, even if you don’t want to. Photograph: Getty
Will a way be found to avoid a hard Brexit? Photograph: Reuters
Apple’s surprise revenue warning highlights the unexpected turns multinational finances can take. Photograph: Bloomberg
Economic forecasting is a dangerous game at the best of times. But 2019 brings a particularly high level of uncertainty. There is Brexit. The possibility – now looking less likely – of higher mortgage rates. And fears over the world economy which are sending stockmarkets tanking. Here are the three key questions for the year, the vital signs to watch – and what they will mean for you.
1. Will there be a Brexit transition period? Or could a ‘no-deal’ actually be allowed to happen?
There was a merciful break in the Brexit news over Christmas, but it is going to be back in full force shortly. If there is one key Brexit thing to watch for 2019, it is whether the transition period comes into force when the UK leaves at the end of March. This is effectively a standstill which would mean not much would change for exports, jobs and the economy until the end of 2020 at least, and possibly until the end of 2022 if an extension were to be agreed. It would remove a huge cloud over the economy for this year.