The full meaning of Britain’s decision to leave the EU will only be appreciated in due time, but already it is causing some earth-shattering side effect.
The financial markets and central banks are trying to reassure investors to keep calm and carry on, insisting that the historic drops in the British Pound are only part of temporary turbulence.
After all the highly dramatic and strange events leading up to the Brexit referendum – including the shock murder of MP Jo Cox and the bizarre heavy rains and lightning storms on the eve of the vote – it is somewhat surprising that Britain indeed voted to leave the European Union, however narrowly at 52-48%.
Figures great and small weighed in, and in many cases made dramatic pleas making the idea of leaving the EU seem like an earth shattering prospect.
The world’s most powerful bankers threatened financial chaos, too. The likes of Soros, Rothschild and several important figures at Bilderberg all warned that a Brexit would usher in great financial pain (one only wondered if it would be at their own hands).
And it seems they were right – the victory for the “leave” campaign has triggered a massive shock response, which has only begun to play out for currencies and markets.
Though there are many positive aspects to a sovereign nation reclaiming its sovereignty from a bureaucratic superstate, a wave of chaos has indeed been unleashed.
It seems history was made last night.
Significantly, David Cameron, who was vehemently against the Brexit, has announced his intent to step down as Prime Minister in October, as he claimed he would while campaigning to remain in the EU.
Here’s his resignation speech:
Meanwhile, the British Pound is plummeting as global trade reacts to the shocking vote, dropping more than 7% against the dollar in the hours following the results of the referendum.
The exchange rate numbers are changing from moment to moment, but dipped as low as 1.22 GBP to EUR.
Pound tumbling against the Euro https://t.co/tvBcdUQYcS
— Liverpool Echo (@LivEchonews) June 24, 2016
The pound dropped significantly against virtually every major currency, in large part because many investors had been betting on Britain “remaining.”
Since that didn’t happen, we’re witnessing a bit of market turbulence, at least in the short term.
As PoundSterlingLive.com reported:
The pound has fallen to its lowest level in 30 years after the UK defied market expectations to vote to Leave the European Union.
In the event, the Brexit win was large and markets quickly got the hint that this Referendum was not the one-way bet for Remain that had been expected.
Moreover, the Bank of England cautioned that there would be some uncertainty in the next few weeks, but indicated that the longer term would normalize. Bank of England governor Mark Carney gave a speech following the results:
Inevitably, there will be a period of uncertainty and adjustment following this result.
Some market and economic volatility can be expected as this process unfolds.
But we are well prepared for this. The Treasury and the Bank of England have engaged in extensive contingency planning and the chancellor and I have been in close contact, including through the night and this morning.
The Bank will not hesitate to take additional measures as required as those markets adjust and the UK economy moves forward.
Relatively large numbers of people were trading British pound sterling for safer havens in various foreign currencies, and especially gold and silver ahead of the Brexit vote, with uncertainty about the outcome weighing heavily on financial interests.
The big winner, as far as currencies are concerned, appears to be gold, which soared to new heights as the Pound and Euro began a panicky decoupling process:
As Bloomberg noted:
Gold rallies as much as 8.1 percent to $1,358.54 an ounce, highest since March 2014
[O]il sank to about $47 a barrel and industrial metals slumped. The yen surged and gold soared with U.S., German and Japanese bonds as investors piled into havens. European stocks and U.S. futures tumbled as Asian equities dropped by the most in five years.
“All hell is breaking loose,” says Vishnu Varathan, a senior economist in Singapore at Mizuho Bank Ltd. “The only surefire is you buy yen, you buy U.S. Treasuries, you buy gold, and you sit tight.”
“Gold will be a preferred safe-haven asset with a ‘Leave’ vote,” said Barnabas Gan, an economist at Singapore-based Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp, who forecast that it could rally to as much as $1,400 if ‘Remain’ loses. Bullion’s expected to remain volatile until the final verdict is out, according to Gan.
“Equity futures, gold, U.K. bank and insurance stocks are all sounding off their market stress sirens, and the funding market will go into its usual precautionary mode,” said Sean Keane, an Auckland-based analyst at Triple T Consulting…
How deeply this pivotal decision – largely against predictions that the EU would remain integrated – will affect the economy in the long run remains to be seen.
It is likely enough that everyone will adjust in the next few weeks and things will even out after that. On the other hand, if this earth shattering news coincides with other large-scale events, the fallout could only intensify.
The global markets are so intertwined at this point that anything could happen, and virtually everything could be toppled over with the right crisis.
For today, it is enough to wish the British people good fortune in their bold electoral victory in reclaiming sovereignty and defying the status quo.
As for the rest of us, it should serve as a reminder that this world is not fixed, and that the very foundations of world power are subject to shift, crumble or be upended altogether.