Wednesday

20th Feb 2019

Markets lose confidence in outcome of UK vote

  • Torrential rain in London and other parts of south-east England caused transport problems and may have affected turnout (Photo: EUobserverver)

A larger than expected vote for the Leave side in northern England saw markets lose confidence that the UK would stay in the EU.

Sixty one percent of people in Sunderland voted to leave. In adjacent Newcastle, the Remain side won by a wafer-thin margin of 1 percent.

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Richard Elvin, a Leave campaigner in Sunderland, told British daily The Guardian: “Voters made a big statement saying we’re sick to death of politics as it is. Sick to death of being told what’s good for us.”

Bridget Phillipson, a pro-EU MP with the opposition Labour party said on the northern vote that “there’s huge anger that time and again our region is left behind when it comes to jobs and investment.”

The result saw the value of the pound plunge against the US dollar, falling from $1.50 to $1.43 in a matter of minutes.

The volatile trading indicated that markets were uncertain how the vote would go.

The moment marked a U-turn after a YouGov poll earlier on Thursday put the Remain camp ahead and prompted the pound to climb to a six-month high against the US dollar.

Robert Rennie, a currency expert at Westpac, a firm in Sydney, Australia, told the Reuters news agency after the Sunderland result: “It's very jittery and I suppose that's very much going to be the order of the day until we see final results being announced”.

Jeremy Cook, an economist at World First, a firm that handles international money transfers, told Reuters that “Sunderland was a huge kick in the ribs” for Remain.

The two sides remained neck and neck as more results trickled in during the small hours of Friday.

The Remain side led in Scotland and Northern Ireland but lagged behind Leave in England, with the vast majority of votes still left to count.

“Those traders who were looking to book a quick profit before a restful night's sleep have had their ideas shattered”, World First’s Cook said.

More Danes want referendum on EU membership

Forty two percent of Danes want a UK-type referendum on EU membership, up five points on three months ago. "It would be an extremely bad idea", one leading party said.

UK votes to leave EU, causes shockwaves

Britons vote to leave the EU by 51.9 percent. Pound is at its lowest since 1985. Scotland and Northern Ireland at odds with England and Wales.

Pound plunges after UK result, but no 'panic'

"We are not in panic mode”, Germany's Commerzbank said. Bank of England chief said "we were well-prepared for this" and that British banks could weather the storm.

Barnier: UK has to move on Brexit

No breakthrough emerged from the meeting between the top EU and UK negotiators on Monday evening in Brussels. Michel Barnier urged the UK to move on its red lines to help clinch a deal, with 45 days left until Brexit.

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