World Economy

Brexit D-Day Arrives

Brexit D-Day ArrivesBrexit D-Day Arrives

A record number of voters have registered for Britain's EU membership referendum. The UK Electoral Commission said that almost 46.5 million people had signed up to cast their ballots on June 23, DW reported.

Campaigners on both sides of the crucial vote on whether or not Britain should remain in the European Union began the final frantic day of campaigning on Wednesday, crisscrossing the country to make impassioned pleas to the undecided.

Prime Minister David Cameron outlined his vision for a future with Britain retaining its place in the 28-nation bloc, bristling at the notion that the country would be headed in the wrong direction if it stayed in. He flatly rejected the notion that the institution is moribund.

For decades, young Britons have enjoyed the freedom of Europe, able to work, study and travel freely on the continent, and enjoy healthcare and other privileges while they do so, The Guardian reported.

But how would all that change if Britain voted to leave the European Union on Thursday? Britain’s membership of the EU means that citizens are able to live and work anywhere within the 28 countries of the EU.

Would Brexit make it easier for young people to find jobs in the UK? Much will depend on the economic impact and whether a move to leave the EU would, as many international financial organizations have warned, trigger an economic reversal in the UK.

If Brexit does prompt a recession, it is young people who are most likely to suffer.

"There will be significant economic repercussions if Britain breaks with the 28-member European Union," US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said on Tuesday, DW said.

And European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi said the ECB was preparing for "all possible contingencies.

It's difficult to speculate about one outcome instead of another," he said in a speech at the European Parliament, adding that the referendum was adding uncertainty to markets.

Market Volatility

If Britons vote to take their country out of the European Union, no corner of the global financial market complex will emerge unscathed, Reuters reported.

The invisible thread that links assets as diverse as gold, bank stocks, the Japanese yen and government bonds would be yanked sharply by Brexit, an event the Bank of England said last Thursday risks "adverse spillovers to the global economy".

With global interest rates and bond yields the lowest on record, central banks running low on crisis-fighting tools and the post-2008 economic recovery flagging, that thread could quickly unravel, with serious consequences for all markets.

So why will the will of one country's people in one referendum have such a profound impact on global markets?

The answer is partly how interconnected global markets are, and partly timing—the world economic cycle is already very long in the tooth and central banks have far fewer options open to them after nearly a decade of extraordinary policy support.

Global interest rates are at their lowest for 5,000 years, according to Bank of America, but central banks could still cut them further, CNBC said.

That could mean the US Federal Reserve reversing its slow-starting tightening cycle, and European Central Bank and Bank of Japan rates going deeper into negative territory.

Lower rates would also depress bond yields even further, tightening the screw on central and commercial banks.

Over $8 trillion worth of sovereign bonds already carry a negative yield, according to JPMorgan. This means holders of Japanese, German and Swiss debt are paying these governments for the privilege of lending to them, in some cases out to 20 years.

Euro, Pound Jittery

The euro and pound have fallen as the Brexit referendum approaches. With the "remain" and "leave" camps running almost level in the polls the markets are reflecting the uncertainty, as wary voices grow, DW said.

The euro was down 0.5% against the dollar to $1.12, while the British pound weakened on Tuesday by 0.3% to $1.46. While the pound remained above the $1.41 level it had been at a week ago when fears a "leave" vote would win this week's vote, the UK currency, like the euro, gold, shares globally—and the yen—have seen synchronized swings as the prospects of "Brexit" fluctuated in recent weeks.