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IMF: Brexit 'pretty bad to very bad'

Friday, May 13, 2016 - 01:33

The IMF joins the Bank of England in painting a gloomy economic picture of what a post-Brexit Britain might look like, just weeks ahead of the referendum on EU membership. But will the warnings sway voters? Kirsty Basset reports.

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Another day, another warning from a major economic institution on what might happen if Britain votes to leave the EU. This time, from the Managing Director of the IMF. (SOUNDBITE)(English) IMF MANAGING DIRECTOR CHRISTINE LAGARDE SAYING: "Depending on what hypotheticals you take, it's going to be pretty bad to very, very bad." In its annual report on Britain's economy, the IMF said a vote to leave would lead to a long period of uncertainty, financial market volatility and a hit to output. The IMF also repeated a warning that a Brexit shock could upset the global economy. (SOUNDBITE)(English) IMF MANAGING DIRECTOR CHRISTINE LAGARDE SAYING: "I don't think that in the last six months I have visited a country anywhere in the world and not been asked, what will be the economic consequences of Brexit." It comes a day after Bank of England governor Mark Carney was criticised by some for weighing in - after he said the country could enter a brief recession in the case of Brexit. A prediction the IMF also backed. (SOUNDBITE)(English) WORLDFIRST CHIEF ECONOMIST JEREMY COOK SAYING: "If they were to sit there and say we're going to ignore the referendum, we don't know what risk it's going to have, what impact it's going to have, but we're going to ignore it, that would be a lot more controversial I would think than the Bank of England governor coming out and saying this poses a real risk to output." But the warnings will not necessarily sway voters. Opinion polls show Britons believe staying in the EU would be best for the economy - but are more or less evenly split on how they intend to vote.

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IMF: Brexit 'pretty bad to very bad'

Friday, May 13, 2016 - 01:33