UK pound plunges as referendum results point to EU exit

A teller counts ballot papers at the Titanic Exhibition Centre in Belfast, Northern Ireland, after polls closed in the EU referendum Thursday, June 23, 2016. Britain's referendum on whether to leave the European Union was too close to call early Friday, with increasingly mixed signals challenging earlier indications that "remain" had won a narrow victory. | Liam McBurney/PA via AP; St. George News

LONDON (AP) — Britain entered uncharted waters Friday after the country voted to leave the European Union, according to a projection by all main U.K. broadcasters. The decision shatters the stability of the project in continental unity forged after World War II in hopes of making future conflicts impossible.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker wipes his brow before speaking during a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday, June 22, 2016. Voters in the United Kingdom are taking part in a referendum on Thursday that will decide whether Britain remains part of the European Union or leaves the 28-nation bloc. | AP Photo/Virginia Mayo; St. George News
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker wipes his brow before speaking during a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday, June 22, 2016. Voters in the United Kingdom are taking part in a referendum on Thursday that will decide whether Britain remains part of the European Union or leaves the 28-nation bloc. | AP Photo/Virginia Mayo; St. George News

The decision raises the likelihood of years of negotiations over trade, business and political links with what will become a 27-nation bloc. In essence the vote marks the start — rather than the end — of a process that could take decades to unwind.

The “leave” side was ahead by 51.7 percent to 48.3 percent with more than three-quarters of votes tallied, making a “remain” win a statistical near-impossibility.

The pound suffered one of its biggest one-day falls in history, plummeting more than 10 percent in six hours, from about $1.50 to below $1.35, on concern that severing ties with the single market will hurt the U.K. economy and undermine London’s position as a global financial center.

But if it shocked the markets, the result delighted “leave” campaigners.

“The dawn is breaking on an independent United Kingdom,” U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage declared to loud cheers at a “leave” campaign party.

“Let June 23 go down in our history as our independence day!”

As results poured in, a picture emerged of a sharply divided nation: Strong pro-EU votes in the economic and cultural powerhouse of London and semi-autonomous Scotland were countered by sweeping anti-Establishment sentiment for an exit across the rest of England, from southern seaside towns to rust-belt former industrial powerhouses in the north.

Chelsea pensioners arrive at a polling station near to the Royal Chelsea Hospital, London, to vote in Britain's EU referendum Thursday June 23, 2016. Voters in Britain are deciding Thursday whether the country should remain in the European Union a historic referendum that threatens to undermine the experiment in continental unity that began in the aftermath of World War II. (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA via AP) UNITED KINGDOM OUT NO SALES NO ARCHIVE
Chelsea pensioners arrive at a polling station near to the Royal Chelsea Hospital, London, to vote in Britain’s EU referendum Thursday June 23, 2016. Voters in Britain are deciding Thursday whether the country should remain in the European Union a historic referendum that threatens to undermine the experiment in continental unity that began in the aftermath of World War II. | Photo by Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA via AP; St. George News

“A lot of people’s grievances are coming out and we have got to start listening to them,” said deputy Labour Party leader John McDonnell.

With the result in favor of an EU exit, or Brexit, the U.K. becomes the first major country to decide to leave the bloc, which evolved in the ashes of the war as European leaders sought to build links and avert future hostility. Authorities ranging from the International Monetary Fund to the U.S. Federal Reserve and Bank of England warned a British exit will reverberate through a world economy that is only slowly recovering from the global economic crisis.

“The appeal of the anti-Establishment populist argument that we need to take back control of our borders and immigration … proved stronger than the economic risks that Brexit would entail,” said Tim Bale, a professor of politics at Queen Mary, University of London. “I think people are soon going to find out that the promise of the ‘leave’ campaign cannot possibly be realized.”

The vote is likely to cost Prime Minister David Cameron his job after the leader of the ruling Conservative Party staked his reputation on keeping Britain in the EU. Former London Mayor Boris Johnson was the most prominent supporter of the “leave” campaign and is now seen as a leading contender to replace Cameron.

Cameron promised the referendum to appease the right wing of his own party and blunt a challenge from the U.K. Independence Party, which pledged to leave the EU. After winning a majority in Parliament in the last election, Cameron negotiated a package of reforms that he said would protect Britain’s sovereignty and prevent EU migrants from moving to the U.K. to claim generous public benefits.

Countera begin to tally ballot papers at the Titanic Exhibition Centre in Belfast, Northern Ireland, as counting gets underway in the referendum on the UK membership of the European Union, late Thursday June 23, 2016. On Thursday Britain votes in a national referendum on whether to stay inside the EU.(Liam McBurney / PA via AP) UNITED KINGDOM OUT - NO SALES - NO ARCHIVES
Countera begin to tally ballot papers at the Titanic Exhibition Centre in Belfast, Northern Ireland, as counting gets underway in the referendum on the UK membership of the European Union, late Thursday June 23, 2016. On Thursday Britain votes in a national referendum on whether to stay inside the EU. | Photo by Liam McBurney / PA via AP; St. George News

Critics charged that the reforms were hollow, leaving Britain at the mercy of bureaucrats in Brussels and doing nothing to stem the tide of European immigrants who have come to the U.K. since the EU expanded eastward in 2004. The “leave” campaign accuses the immigrants of taxing Britain’s housing market, public services and employment.

Those concerns were magnified by the refugee crisis of the past year that saw more than 1 million people from the Middle East and Africa flood into the EU as the continent’s leaders struggled to come up with a unified response.

Cameron’s efforts to find a slogan to counter the “leave” campaign’s emotive “take back control,” settled on “Brits don’t quit.” But the appeal to a Churchillian bulldog spirit and stoicism proved too little, too late.

The slaying of pro-Europe lawmaker Jo Cox a week before the vote brought a shocked pause to both campaigns and appeared to shift momentum away from the “leave” camp. While it isn’t clear whether her killer was influenced by the EU debate, her death aroused fears that the referendum had stirred demons it would be difficult to subdue.

The result triggers a new series of negotiations that is expected to last two years or more as Britain and the EU search for a way to separate economies that have become intertwined since the U.K. joined the bloc on Jan. 1, 1973. Until those talks are completed, Britain will remain a member of the EU.

Exiting the EU involves taking the unprecedented step of invoking Article 50 of the EU’s governing treaty. While Greenland left an earlier, more limited version of the bloc in 1985, no country has ever invoked Article 50, so there is no roadmap for how the process will work.

British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha leave after casting their votes in the EU referendum at a polling station in London, Thursday, June 23, 2016 | AP Photo/Tim Ireland; St. George News
British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha leave after casting their votes in the EU referendum at a polling station in London, Thursday, June 23, 2016 | AP Photo/Tim Ireland; St. George News

“It will usher in a lengthy and possibly protracted period of acute economic uncertainty about the U.K.’s trading arrangements,” said Daniel Vernazza, the U.K. economist at UniCredit.

The European Union is the world’s biggest economy and the U.K.’s most important trading partner, accounting for 45 percent of exports and 53 percent of imports.

In addition, the complex nature of Britain’s integration with the EU means that breaking up will be hard to do. The negotiations will go far beyond tariffs, including issues such as cross-border security, foreign policy cooperation and a common fisheries policy.

Among the biggest challenges for Britain is protecting the ability of professionals such as investment managers, accountants and lawyers to work in the EU.

As long as the U.K. is a member of the bloc, firms registered in Britain can operate in any other member state without facing another layer of regulation. It’s the same principle that allows exporters to ship their goods to any EU country free of tariffs.

Now that right is up for negotiation, threatening the City, as London’s financial heart is known, and its position as Europe’s pre-eminent financial center.

People make their way along a flooded path as they arrive to vote at the polling station in East Hanningfield, Essex, England, Thursday, June 23, 2016 as torrential downpours and flooding have swamped parts of London and the South East in the early hours of EU referendum day. Voters in Britain are deciding Thursday whether the country should remain in the European Union — a referendum that has exposed deep divisions over issues of sovereignty and national identity. (Nick Ansell/PA via AP) UNITED KINGDOM OUT NO SALES NO ARCHIVE
People make their way along a flooded path as they arrive to vote at the polling station in East Hanningfield, Essex, England, Thursday, June 23, 2016 as torrential downpours and flooding have swamped parts of London and the South East in the early hours of EU referendum day. Voters in Britain are deciding Thursday whether the country should remain in the European Union — a referendum that has exposed deep divisions over issues of sovereignty and national identity. | Photo by Nick Ansell/PA via AP; St. George News

Many international banks and brokerages have long used Britain as the entry point to the EU because of its trusted legal system and institutions that operate in English, the language of international finance. Britain’s financial services industry is also surrounded by an ecosystem of expertise — lawyers, accountants and consultants— that support it.

Some 60 percent of all non-EU firms have their European headquarters in the U.K., according to TheCityUK, which lobbies on behalf of the financial industry. The U.K. hosts more headquarters of non-EU firms than Germany, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands put together.

“We believe this outcome has serious implications for the City and many of our clients’ businesses with exposure to the U.K. and the EU,” said Malcolm Sweeting, senior partner of the law firm, Clifford Chance. “We are working alongside our clients to help them as they anticipate, plan for and manage the challenges the coming political and trade negotiations will bring.”

JPMorgan Chase Chief Executive Jamie Dimon said earlier this month that a vote to leave would force his bank to move jobs to mainland Europe to ensure that it could continue to service clients in the EU. Other global businesses with customers in the rest of the EU will be in a similar situation.

The only question that remains is whether the dire economic predictions economists made during the campaign will come to pass.

Uncertainty is bad for business,” Vernazza said. “A sharp fall in U.K. risky asset prices, delays to investment, disruption to trade, and a loss of business and consumer confidence mean the U.K. economy is more likely than not to enter a technical recession within two years.”

Written by DANICA KIRKA, Associated Press and JILL LAWLESS, Associated Press

Associated Press writers Raphael Satter in London and Shawn Pogatchnik in Dublin contributed to this report.

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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18 Comments

  • Henry June 24, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    This Associated Press story should be a case study in how to present only one side of an argument. It was hard to keep from laughing when reading some of the particularly egregious parts.

    • Bob June 24, 2016 at 4:19 pm

      This will be bad news for the big Jewish-owned banks also. Interesting how the same crew that collapsed the economy in ’08 thinks they are the best ones to give world economic advice.

      • Chris June 25, 2016 at 10:53 am

        Bob the simpleton sees every issue in terms of the “Zionist conspiracy.” What blue collar job did you “retire” from? Failures in life, like you, seek to explain their own inadequacy in terms of broad conspiracies against them. After all, your lot in life as a loser could not possibly be your fault. Could it?

        • Bob June 25, 2016 at 12:28 pm

          poor little baby all upset. cry and whine and start in with name calling. It’s not a conspiracy at all, little whiny chris. it’s blatantly obvious that ‘the chosen ones’ control the world finance system. hell, they don’t even deny it themselves.

        • ladybugavenger June 25, 2016 at 2:16 pm

          wow, Chris we try to keep the name calling away from here and respect others. Please don’t be mean.

  • Bob June 24, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    this is very good news

  • Bob June 24, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    Britains have become tired of mass 3rd-world immigration

    • Chris June 25, 2016 at 10:49 am

      You are amazingly stupid, Bob. If you knew anything about Brexit, you would understand that it has nothing to do with “3rd-world immigration.” The EU only allows free immigration between member states by citizens thereof. Whatever immigration originated from the third world will not be affected at all by Brexit. In Britain, Brexit is equivalent to Trump in this country–idiots support both, people of even moderate intelligence see both as folly. We know what side you fall on.

      • Bob June 25, 2016 at 12:30 pm

        it’s about EU imposing “migrant quotas” and flooding Britain with more 3rd world migrants, in a country already bursting at the seams with unemployable migrants. You’d have to be a retard (like you) to not see it

        • Henry June 25, 2016 at 2:08 pm

          My gosh, what a pair. Bob, the Zionist Conspiracist. Chris, the Indoctrinated Authoritarian. They inhabit a black hole, devoid of Critical Thinking.

          • Bob June 25, 2016 at 4:13 pm

            Zionist Conspiracist, ahahah. like i say it’s no conspiracy at all. do a little research and it’s plain to see. stop taking everything at face value. the news media, finance, politcs, etc etc are all interconnected through groups of elitists, a huge proportion of them ultra zionists, but or course not all are Jewish. i’m not that into it to put the names to memory, but they’re all out there if u look into it.

          • Bob June 25, 2016 at 4:16 pm

            will await chris’s playground insults now. ahahahah

          • Henry June 26, 2016 at 11:50 am

            Bob – thanks for proving to be the living embodiment of Joseph Heller’s quote, “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you.”

          • Bob June 26, 2016 at 2:41 pm

            not paranoid at all. also not holding my breath for u to post something interesting or add useful info to a comment.

          • Henry June 26, 2016 at 10:43 pm

            Ibid

  • .... June 24, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    they just did themselves a favor !

  • 42214 June 24, 2016 at 5:47 pm

    UK in June, Trump in November.

  • .... June 24, 2016 at 11:22 pm

    Here it comes folks LMAO. ! let’s see what he has to say about my comment. ! …how doo Eye doo it !

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