In a landmark decision, UK’s citizen expressed their preference to leave the European Union. While the process is not straight forward, and will take at least two years to complete, Britain could struggle to lift the markets sentiment in a short to medium term.
Sterling Pound, probably one of the strongest currencies in the world, immediately suffered the largest drop in the past 30 years. Stock markets across the world have also responded to the news, with most stock exchanges witnessing a significant drop in share prices. This only reciprocates the negative market sentiment currently dominating the market. Some even feel that announcement of BREXIT could be a dawn a new recession period, similar to the 2008 crisis.
Britain will have to undergo massive negotiations over the next two years – not only in terms of their relations with other EU member countries, but also at a more granular level. Most companies will have to renegotiate their EU-wide contracts, to enable provisions for a separate/independent Britain. A major challenge will be addressing trade with EU member states, as well as countries with which EU has signed free trade agreements, which according to estimates puts about £250 billion worth of trade at risk.
Several companies, especially the ones which use Britain as the base to serve other EU markets, have been left in the midst of turbulent waters, unsure of what pans for them in the future. All will again depend on how negotiations go among the 27 EU member states during a long drawn process, after Britain enforces the Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, for officially exiting the EU.
China, already suffering from the stock market and debt crisis in early 2016 following a crash in crude oil prices, could see its trade with European countries taking a hit. UK is the second largest customer for China in Europe. Weakening of the Sterling Pound and Euro is expected to erode the competitive advantage that China sought by devaluing its currency several times since August 2015. Moreover, the negative market sentiment is also likely to drive the crude oil prices further downwards, which could add the pressure on the debt-ridden country.
The knock-on effect will also be felt in other emerging markets in Asia. Nomura’s analysts predict growth rates in other Asian emerging markets to drop by up to 1.0 percentage point.
While many expect the impact of BREXIT to be felt gradually, the short terms scenario certainly seems to point otherwise. All will depend on how the exit process progresses, along with the negotiations, which might leave Britain in a slightly less advantageous position. Even if all goes well, it will take several years to attain normalcy.