Are UK Corporates Bearish on Brexit?

Signals suggest UK-based businesses may be preparing for the worst.

cdasfc

Let's say you are a UK-based business, and Brexit is coming. You have your ear to the ground. You closely track the negotiations, trying to predict whether the divorce will be hard or soft. If you have reason to believe it will be the former, then you might start to think about relocation.

The end of March marked one year until the UK plans to leave the European Union. Shortly after that milestone, Predata signals captured a surge in online research into the subjects businesses would care about were they planning to relocate to the EU27. These include commercial real estate, international schools, professional qualifications and groups, and taxation and corporate policy. The signals track English-language interest in these subjects in the Western European cities that a UK-based business would consider the most likely candidates for relocation: Paris, Dublin, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, and Luxembourg. 

As the chart below shows, interest in these subjects in these European cities all hit multi-month highs in April. Some of them are now again trending upward.

dsa

Reorganizing the signals by city reveals that Amsterdam and Dublin saw the biggest increases in activity. Sources related to taxation and corporate law and international schools drove the spikes for both cities. 

dafac

These spikes in interest suggest UK businesses may think Hard Brexit is coming.