Markets reel as world absorbs shock of UK vote for Brexit

Markets reel as world absorbs shock of UK vote for Brexit

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London, (AP/UNB) – Britain has jumped. Now it is wildly searching for the parachute.
The U.K.’s unprecedented decision to leave the European Union sent shockwaves through the country and around the world Friday, rocking financial markets, toppling Prime Minister David Cameron and even threatening the ties that bind the United Kingdom.Britons absorbed the overwhelming realization that their anti-establishment vote has pushed the British economy into treacherous and uncertain territory and sparked a profound crisis for a bloc founded to unify Europe after the devastation of World War II.
“Leave” campaigners hailed the result as a victory for British democracy against the bureaucratic behemoth of the EU.
Conservative former London Mayor Boris Johnson said “the British people have spoken up for democracy in Britain and across Europe,” while Nigel Farage, leader of the hard-right U.K. Independence Party, said “the dawn is breaking on an independent United Kingdom.”
But for the 48 percent of British voters who wanted to remain – and for the 2 million EU nationals who live and work in Britain, but could not vote – there was sadness, anger and even panic.
At a London train station, commuter Olivia Sangster-Bullers called the result “absolutely disgusting.”
“Good luck to all of us, I say, especially those trying to build a future with our children,” she said.
The decision launches a yearslong process to renegotiate trade, business and political links between the U.K. and what will become a 27-nation bloc, an unprecedented divorce that could take a decade or more to complete.
Cameron, who had led the campaign to keep Britain in the EU, said he would resign by October and left it to his successor to decide when to invoke Article 50, which triggers a departure from European Union.
“I will do everything I can as prime minister to steady the ship over the coming weeks and months,” a somber Cameron said outside 10 Downing St. “But I do not think it would be right for me to try to be the captain that steers the country to its next destination.”
He also said he had spoken to Queen Elizabeth II “to advise her of the steps that I am taking.”
In a referendum marked by notably high turnout – 72 percent of the more than 46 million registered voters – “leave” won with 52 percent of the votes.
Stock markets plummeted around the world, with key indexes dropping more than 12 percent in Germany and about 8 percent in Japan and Britain. Markets calmed and later recovered some of their losses after Bank of England Governor Mark Carney promised to take “all the necessary steps to prepare for today’s events.”
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 611 points, or 3.4 percent, its biggest fall since August.
The euro fell against the dollar and the pound dropped to its lowest level since 1985, plunging more than 10 percent from about $1.50 to $1.35 before a slight recovery, on concerns that severing ties with the single market will hurt the U.K. economy and undermine London’s position as a global financial center.

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