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BREXIT: Markets rocked as British citizens vote to exit the European Union

June 24, 2016  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
BREXIT: Markets rocked as British citizens vote to exit the European Union

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British citizens have made a historic decision to quit the European Union, according to projections early Friday, in a referendum that left the Brexit crowd cheering their independence.

The vote to free the United Kingdom from the EU heralds what will likely be a decades-long process of negotiations setting new trade, business and political ground rules.

Many Britons cheered in the streets, hoisting beers at “Leave EU” parties even as the sun was rising on the new day.

“If the predications now are right, this will be a victory for real people, a victory for ordinary people, a victory for decent people,” said Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party, as Britons awoke to the news.

“I hope this victory brings down this failed project and brings us to a Europe of sovereign-nation states trading together. Let June the 23rd go down in our history as our independence day.”

Results released early Friday show the “leave” side prevailing 52 percent to 48 percent in Thursday’s vote as tallied by British broadcasters. Voter turnout was about 72 percent.

But the pro-local-rule result, and the uncertainty of what the vote against globalism means for Britain and the world, triggered panic in worldwide markets and caused Britain’s currency to plummet.

Dow futures fell more than 600 points on news of the Brexit referendum results, and Japanese stock markets halted trading momentarily to stem a massive selloff.

In the US, the S&P 500 Index and Nasdaq were projected to open down nearly 5 percent.

The pound sterling suffered one of its biggest one-day declines ever, plummeting more than 10 percent in six hours, from about $1.50 to below $1.35, on concern that severing ties with a unified European marketplace will hurt the UK’s economy and undermine London’s position as a global ­financial center.

As results poured in, a picture of a sharply divided nation emerged.

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 Britain, from southern seaside towns to rust-belt former industrial powerhouses in the north.

“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.

The UK becomes the first major nation to leave the bloc, which evolved as European leaders sought to unify and avert future hostilities similar to World War II.

Authorities ranging from the International Monetary Fund to the US Federal Reserve and Bank of England warned that a British exit would send shock waves through the global economy that is only slowly recovering from the 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.

Additional reporting by Michael Gray

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