Pound slips to seven-year low as City chiefs clash over Brexit from EU

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A flurry of bosses and City figures today declared their stance on a Brexit from Europe as the pound continued to slide to new seven-year lows.

Sterling dropped below $1.40 for the first time since 2009 as the clamour of warnings about the potential damage to the currency if the electorate votes out on June 23 grew.

HSBC added its voice to the chorus today, warning that the pound could fall by as much as 20% and that economic growth could be stunted so much as to knock 1.5% off Britain’s gross domestic product. 

The pound fell 0.94 cent to $1.3933.

Guy Hands, the private equity supremo, threw his weight behind the stay campaign at the SuperReturn Conference in Berlin today. He declared: “The only certain winners from Britain leaving the EU will be Russia.”

Drawing on the history of Europe since the Second World War, Hands said: “International institutions such as the EU and the UN have made the world a better place in spite of their obvious failings and need for reform. Britain staying in the EU is the right thing for Britain and for Europe.”

Tim Martin, founder of the Wetherspoons pub empire, weighed in on the side of Brexit. “It makes no sense, in the UK, for sensitive issues to be decided on by faceless bureaucrats in Brussels, when we’re just as capable of deciding for ourselves,” he said.

But Martin also acknowledged that his business among others had done well thanks to the influx of Europeans into the UK to work behind his bars. 

He said: “I strongly believe that the UK has been a big beneficiary of the migration of large numbers of Europeans to this country, as, indeed, we have benefited from an influx of people from other regions of the world.”

Manny Roman, chief executive of hedge fund manager Man Group, joined those warning of the potential dangers of a UK exit. “Whilst it is hard to say exactly what the impact would be, the uncertainty and potential negative consequences for the economy should not be underestimated,” he said.

Paul Kahn, UK boss of Airbus, which today upped its dividend after a 15% rise in net income for the year, said a Brexit could impact on the free movement of labour for employees of multinational companies like his. “This would bring less opportunity for our British employees to go to France, Germany and elsewhere in Europe.”

He added that Brexit could mean more, not less red tape, for EU states wanting to do business with the UK.

Source Article from http://www.standard.co.uk/business/pound-slips-to-sevenyear-low-as-city-chiefs-clash-over-brexit-a3188121.html

February 25, 2016 |
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