Before being re-elected into parliament last year, one of David Cameron’s promises if he won the 2016 General Election, was to hold a referendum on whether Britain should remain as a member of the European Union. Cameron was successful in his re-election campaign and now, consequently, on 23rd June, Britain will decide whether or not it will ‘leave’ or ‘remain’ in the European Union.
From both sides of the debate, some fairly extreme arguments have been put forward and accusations of scaremongering have been made against both sides of the coin. Many of us though, still find ourselves in no-mans-land, surrounded by politically charged hot air, waffle and propaganda. As we approach the deciding day, many people want to see the potential pros and cons of each argument, so they can make a rational and informed opinion before they go to the ballots.
For the majority of people, the way in which they decide to vote will come down to money: how will staying ‘In’ or ‘Out’ affect their mortgage repayments? Will their investments or pensions appreciate or depreciate? Some will simply be more concerned with whether or not the country’s decision will make ventures abroad more expensive.
A major concern for many people and businesses in the Racing and Equine Industry is the effect a Brexit would have on the Pound. Since the start of the debate last year, GBP has fallen by 12.5% against the Euro, 6.8% against the US Dollar and has weakened by 11.4% versus the Australian Dollar. Economists’ indicate that interest rates will not be increased until at least the middle of next year, which has had some part to play in the weakening of Sterling, but what is fairly certain is that Foreign Exchange markets have been pricing in a potential Brexit and the knock on effects that leaving the EU would have.
In the short term, it has been argued that if the UK were to leave, trade would be negatively affected due to the re-negotiation of trade deals which would be a lengthy process as talks would need to take place with both EU members and other non-EU countries who the UK currently trades with.
Although this short term wound may heal over, there is a general consensus that if there was a Brexit, there would be some hurt. This being said though, various economists have spoken about the UK becoming a cheaper destination for overseas visitors and in the long term this could make exports more competitive, which, it is thought, could strengthen the Pound.
In May, Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England said that if Britain quits the European Union, it could result in "material slowdown in growth and notable increase in inflation" and that there would be a very real chance a Brexit could lead to "technical recession".
In a letter to George Osborne, Carney also stated that: "A vote to leave the EU could have material economic effects…on the exchange rate, on demand and on the economy's supply potential".
In racing terms, purchasing a horse in Ireland or France, for example would become more expensive for British buyers, as they’d get less EUR for their GBP if Sterling were to weaken off the back of a victory for the ‘Leave’ campaigners. European owners, Trainers and Jockeys would also be affected when converting prize money if Sterling were to weaken, particularly this month at Royal Ascot and the Epsom meeting, where they may well see less EUR on the other side of their conversions, if the UK were to leave.
On the other hand, at meetings such as the Belmont Stakes and the Irish Derby, with a weaker pound, British Owners, Trainers and Jockeys would see a larger sum when they convert their funds from Euros or Dollars back into Pounds. So if the British currency does follow forecasts on the back of a Brexit, British Owners, Trainers and Jockeys may look further afield when entering their horses in big races.
There is still much to be decided between now and when Britain decides to retain or reject their membership of the EU and no doubt we’ll see more exaggerated possibilities and potential disaster stories from both sides, in an effort to get the undecided voters on board. One thing that is for certain though, is that everything from the conversion of prize money to international horse transportation will be affected if Sterling takes a pounding as a result of a Brexit.
For more information as to how you can save money on your next currency transfer, please visit www.racingfx.co.uk