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Carney Confronts Outlook After Weakest Growth in Six Years

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Carney Confronts Outlook After Weakest Growth in Six Years

Carney Says Uncertainty Remains Elevated Amid `Fog of Brexit'

Mark Carney may give some color on what lies ahead after enduring the worst year of growth since he arrived at the Bank of England.

In one of his last speeches before the U.K. leaves the European Union next month, the governor will discuss “the latest developments in the global economy and risks to the outlook.” The appearance on Tuesday comes after a report showed the expansion in 2018 was the weakest since 2012, the year before the Canadian took the helm at Threadneedle Street.

U.K. economic growth slowed at the end of 2018

With the world economy slowing, trade tensions rising and the U.K. at risk of crashing out of the EU without a deal in place, there should be plenty to talk about. Carney gave a preview of his concerns at last week’s Inflation Report, where policy makers cut their forecast for growth this year to the weakest in a decade and predicted a dramatic investment slump.

As he presented the forecasts, the governor noted that the economy was suffering from the “fog of Brexit,” while officials also flagged the impact of China’s slowdown and said trade wasn’t contributing as much to growth as they expected.

Outside of appearances such as Parliamentary testimony, BOE officials have been unusually quiet of late, with no major policy speeches so far this year. Last week Carney said that “normal service” would now be resumed. His appearance Tuesday will be followed two days later by a speech on the U.K.’s outlook by another Monetary Policy Committee member Gertjan Vlieghe.

Still, with the U.K.’s exit from the EU a little over six weeks away, policy makers are running short on time to make further interventions in the Brexit debate. The window is especially small given a Financial Policy Committee meeting on Feb. 26 and another monetary policy decision on March 21 will lead to another enforced quiet period for some officials.