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Brexit blues for top UK CEOs

Wednesday, June 29, 2016 - 01:50

Several of Britain's big CEOs have taken to the media to warn the country is heading for an economic disaster. As David Pollard reports, Virgin Group boss Richard Branson says Chinese investors have already pulled investments in the wake of Britain's vote to exit the EU.

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The big beasts of British business are starting to roar. Richard Branson warning of Chinese investors pulling out, job losses, cancelled deals in the wake of the Brexit vote. A cry of pain from the billionaire Virgin boss - if little sympathy in some quarters. SOUNDBITE (English) IG SENIOR ANALYST, CHRIS BEAUCHAMP, SAYING: "Comments about the end of the world and a lack of Chinese investment do not help matters and I think Richard Branson will simply be dismissed by many people as yet another person who is willing to talk down the economy without offering a major solution." With no solution in sight yet, others are roaring too. Roll-Royce chief Warren East saying 'the lack of visibility' is the biggest challenge. WPP's Martin Sorrell warning it could take ten years for the UK to negotiate a new trade agreement. Housebuilders, property agents, airlines all battered post Brexit. And the UK banking sector downgraded by ratings agency Moodys. As for sterling: a weaker pound seen as good news for exporters perhaps, but then only just. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HEAD OF TRADING, ETX CAPITAL, JOE RUNDLE, SAYING: "People will be moving deals away from the UK in the short to medium term ... I think this will be a short-lived bounce for exporters but will make imports considerably more expensive and exporters will be weak because of the uncertainty over the trade negotiations." There is another view. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) FOSUN GROUP CHAIRMAN, GUO GUANGCHANG, SAYING: "Brexit will certainly cause volatility for all financial markets. For a value investor, this volatility is a friend, and not an enemy." A friend that for the boss of China's biggest private conglomerate means pound signs visible through the Brexit fog. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) FOSUN GROUP CHAIRMAN, GUO GUANGCHANG, SAYING: "We are increasingly looking for development opportunities in Europe and particularly in the UK." But for Europe too, its leaders still in Brexit shock as they meet in Brussels. Only this time, without a UK prime minister at the table - for the first time in decades. David Cameron as absent from the seating plan as a business plan is for Britain.

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Brexit blues for top UK CEOs

Wednesday, June 29, 2016 - 01:50