Thursday, June 30, 2016

Global markets bounce but cloud over London banks, EU passports

With global markets less stressed about Britain's shock decision to leave the European Union, the focus is turning to the consequences for Britain including its once prestigious banking sector.

EU leaders are warning Britain that its financial services industry including a major hub in the City of London could be damaged once the exit provisions under the Lisbon Treaty are triggered.

Critically the current right to a European Union passport is set to disappear under the Brexit meaning the current easy access Britain has to financial services in Europe could become history.

The chair of the Eurozone group of finance ministers Jeroen Dijsselbloem says major banks based in London could see their businesses decline and prompt some to leave.

"Larger international financial institutions, if they have to decide where do we go and where do we invest, will take into consideration that London is in the future outside this very large European market," Mr Dijsselbloem told the BBC.

"London and its financial services industry is servicing all of Europe now and they do that with the (EU) passport that gives them access to all the markets in Europe.

"That position will inevitably change."

Britain's finance sector employs more than two million people across the UK, many in the City of London.

Most workers have an EU passport which currently gives them free movement to make deals and to service clients across Europe.

The Brexit impact on British banking and the City of London was sitting quietly in the background in the leadup to the referendum.

But London lawyer Simon Gleeson says with deals potentially unravelling for the British banking sector there would be an impact on related businesses in the United Kingdom.

"Passporting is pretty much essential for the provision of services to European corporates," Mr Gleeson told the BBC.

"If you take passporting away then something changes in the city of London and some businesses will simply have to be relocated elsewhere."

In Brussels as the fallout continues, the German chancellor Angela Merkel warned that whatever deal is hammered out, Britain must honour the free freedoms of the EU - the free movement of workers, goods, capital and services.

"The United Kingdom needs to clearly state its intention as to how it wishes to shape its future relationship with the European Union," Ms Merkel said.

"Access to the single market will only be possible with due respect of the four freedoms."

Meanwhile, global markets rallied for the second day in a row with some investors comforted that the Bank of England and other central banks are poised to blockade any Brexit related credit crunch.

London's main index ended 3.6 percent higher and has now recovered its Brexit related losses.

The Australian sharemarket bounced in the global optimism and the big miners were helped by a higher iron ore price.

The All Ordinaries Index was index 1.4 percent higher in late morning trade.

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