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BoE governor weighs up cost of managed no-deal Brexit against crashing out of EU

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 13:24, April 14, 2019

LONDON, April 12 (Xinhua) -- Despite the UK entering into the European Union (EU) exit process more than two years ago, no plan has yet achieved consensus, and all the various options from a no-deal Brexit to no Brexit could still happen.

With its two deadlines, the first on March 29 and the second on April 12, being rolled back, Brexit is now scheduled to take place by Oct. 31.

This delay of slightly more than six months gives an opportunity for a variety of events to happen, including more discussions between various UK political leaders and a possible general election in the UK.

The prospect of a no-deal Brexit, one where the UK leaves the EU without a deal and moves to a trading arrangement with the EU under the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, has already been rejected by British House of Commons.

However, governor of the Bank of England (BoE) Mark Carney on Thursday on the fringes of the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) spring meetings in Washington outlined that the UK could still choose to go for a no-deal Brexit.

Carney argued that a Brexit on March 29 or on April 12 without a deal agreed would have been an accident, leaving "financial markets... not positioned for the chance of no deal so there would have been quite a substantial repricing."

"It's different to decide to move to WTO terms in an orderly fashion, as well prepared as possible -- we can debate the advisability of doing that -- but to stumble into something accidentally, particularly when financial markets aren't positioned for it... would have been substantial," the Financial Times quoted Carney as saying.

While Carney was careful not to endorse a particular Brexit ending, his evaluation that a managed no-deal Brexit would be less costly for the UK than crashing out of the EU, will be welcomed by pro-Brexit supporters.

Dr Alan Wager, a research associate at King's College London, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview that Carney's assessment came against a six-month period in which UK politicians could evaluate how they wanted Brexit to play out and to remould the political landscape, and his statement was a nod to one of many possible future directions.

"Although the Bank of England which Carney runs is independent, it is also a branch of government," he added, "his position is based on the fact that he has to balance all the competing interests."

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