UPDATE 1-BoE's Haldane sees 'stirring in the undergrowth' on UK business investment

(Releads with comments on investment)

LONDON, Feb 24 (Reuters) – The Bank of England’s chief economist Andy Haldane said he saw hints that British businesses were becoming more willing to invest, following a drop in domestic political and Brexit uncertainty since the end of 2019.

“Some early stage signs in surveys suggest there could be a stirring in the undergrowth when it comes to company investment plans,” Haldane said in a question and answer session after a speech to the Centre for Policy Studies think tank on Monday.

Haldane said businesses’ cost of capital was low and that there were investment opportunities to be seized, but that it was too soon to be sure if stronger sentiment would translate into better business investment.

Investment has been weak in Britain since the 2016 referendum decision to leave the European Union.

Haldane, asked about the government’s upcoming annual budget, said the low cost of capital also applied to government borrowing and that it should take into account the “social return” that public spending could bring.

Earlier, he said he did not see signs of a bubble in global asset prices, nor a wholesale retreat from globalisation, despite the trade war between the United States and China. (Reporting by David Milliken, Editing by Kylie MacLellan)

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