Early polls are in – and one party leader has effectively admitted defeat. The result will have real consequences for global financial markets
While final results aren’t due for another several hours, early indications from a respected poll strongly suggest that Britain has voted to stay in the European Union.
No official exit polls were conducted for Brexit, but a YouGov poll showed Remain beating Leave 52%-48%. While the poll has a much smaller sample size than a typical exit poll, YouGov did call the Scottish Independence vote within one percentage point in 2014. And Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party and a prominent booster of the Leave campaign, has told Sky News that he thinks “Remain will edge it.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron had long lobbied for Britain to remain in the EU, saying an exit would cost British jobs and deal a blow to the nation’s economy. Those who wanted to leave the union, however, said Brexit would allow the U.K. to better control immigration and save the money it contributes to the EU’s budget.
“It has boiled down to jobs versus foreigners,” Justin Fisher, a politics professor at Brunel University in London, told Bloomberg.
So if early signs are correct, what does that mean for North American businesses? Mostly, it means they can breathe a giant sigh of relief. Many analysts believe a UK exit from the EU would have had a profound effect on global markets – perhaps even sending them into a nosedive. There were fears that Britain’s severing of ties with the EU would negatively impact trade, economic growth, investment and jobs in Europe.
“The market is looking for an excuse, or trigger, to sell and might well get one,” Axel Merk, chief investment officer at Merk Investments, told USA Today ahead of the vote. “The Market believes a potential Brexit is a very serious thing for risk assets.”
The impact would have been even more deeply felt because global markets had been betting on Britain to remain in the EU, USA Today reported.
But with the UK voting to remain, stocks on Wall Street and around the world are expected to get a boost. Shares of large UK banks should spike, according to USA Today.
“It goes without saying that we would get a huge relief rally with a ‘remain’ vote,” David Rosenberg, chief strategist at Gluskin Sheff, told clients prior to the vote.