Chancellor to meet US bank chiefs as Brexit clouds linger over economy

Philip Hammond will meet the chiefs of major US banks this week as part of a charm offensive aimed at promoting Britain's global standing amid a faltering domestic economy and intense Brexit fears.

The Chancellor, who is in Washington for the annual International Monetary Fund (IMF) meeting, will travel to New York in the coming days to hold talks with the heads of financial services giants that together have a market cap of nearly £600 billion.

He will meet top bosses at JP Morgan and Citi as well as asset managers Blackstone and BlackRock, continuing a dialogue with major US banks as many prepare to shift portions of their UK operations to the EU in preparation for Brexit.

It will cap a week that will have seen Mr Hammond meet fellow finance ministers and central bankers in Washington, where he will also attend the G20 and G7 meetings, and touch on topics including productivity, digital taxation and international trade.

That is on top of a Commonwealth Finance Ministers meeting, the first attended by a UK Chancellor in seven years, and talks with members of the US administration.

Philip Hammond answering questions at the Commons Treasury Select Committee (PA)

The Chancellor said: "I will be in the US this week to demonstrate that Global Britain is not just a phrase, it is a reality. I am looking forward to productive discussions with my international colleagues as we work together to ensure that economic growth works for everyone."

Mr Hammond's US trip comes amid fears that Britain is hurtling towards a hard Brexit that would hammer businesses and the lucrative financial services sector, despite efforts by the Prime Minister to broker a "bespoke" deal.

Mr Hammond said this week that Brexit has left Britain's economy under a "cloud of uncertainty" and even warned that flights could be grounded in the event of a no deal scenario.

The UK was singled out on Tuesday by the IMF as the only major economy not to see its growth forecast upgraded.

Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, said on Thursday that the EU and UK were in "deadlock" over Britain's financial contribution, which he described as "very disturbing".

Frankfurt is emerging as the biggest beneficiary of Brexit so far as London-based financial firms increasingly opt to relocate staff to Germany's financial centre.

Standard Chartered has committed to expanding or establishing offices in Germany, Citigroup has notified its bankers of plans to bolster its Frankfurt office, creating 150 jobs, and Morgan Stanley is on track to move as many as 200 staff.

Mizuho will join a raft of Japanese banks which have chosen the city as an EU hub, including Daiwa, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG) and Nomura.

That is in addition to JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs, which are set to bolster operations in various EU cities including Frankfurt.

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