Brexit Fears Eased Further This Week
News this week
In general, opinion polls continue to indicate a close race, with ‘remain' slightly ahead. The implied probability of a ‘Brexit' according to both betting odds (Betfair) and Matt Singh (a political blogger who correctly predicted the outcome of the May 2015 general election) is much lower around 20%.
On Monday, HM Treasury published a new report on the short-term economic consequences of a Brexit. In the main risk scenario, the Treasury finds that in the case of a ‘Brexit' GDP would fall 3.6%, CPI inflation would increase by 2.3pp, the unemployment rate would increase 1.6pp, house prices would decline 10% and effective sterling would depreciate 12%. The ‘leave' camp dismissed the findings and accused David Cameron and George Osborne of running a campaign of fear.
Based on new ONS figures showing 77,000 EU citizens came to the UK without a job in 2015, former Mayor of London Boris Johnson repeated that the UK cannot control its own borders and limit immigration. He said a ‘leave' win is the ‘only way to take back control of immigration'.
This week showed further signs that Brexit concerns have eased in the financial markets. This week, the GBP once again outperformed all other G10 currencies, implied FX volatility on GBP crosses fell slightly while expectations of a Bank of England rate cut in 2016 eased further in the UK money market. The market now prices in the first full 25bp rate hike in the UK in June 2018 (moved forward from December 2018). According to our Brexit Risk premium estimates, around 1pp is currently priced in the EUR/GBP spot rate. We still see risks for EUR/GBP as skewed on the upside going into the election.
What to watch next week
In terms of data releases, we look forward to the PMIs for May, which will give us more information about whether growth slowed further in Q2. The April figures were at threeyear lows across the sector suggesting that the economy is slowing ahead of the referendum, due partly to Brexit uncertainties.
Prime Minister David Cameron and Justice Secretary Michael Gove are due to participate in Sky News EU Referendum programmes on Thursday and Friday, respectively.