German Market Analysts Doubt Brexit Even If U.K. Votes to Leave

  • Respondents in ZEW survey see 40% chance “Out” vote not final
  • View contrasts with statements by British, German officials

Britain might vote to check out of the European Union, but that doesn’t mean it will actually leave -- at least according to German financial analysts.

A survey covering more than 200 financial-market participants by the ZEW Center for European Economic Research in Mannheim, published Tuesday, showed a 40 percent chance that a vote in favor of so-called Brexit will later be “revised.”

That view might surprise both sides in the British debate, as well as Germany’s own political establishment. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said last month that the basis for the U.K. referendum is that “in is in and out is out,” while the U.K’s highest-profile “Leave” campaigner, Boris Johnson, has said such a vote would be final. Prime Minister David Cameron has described the notion that Brexit could trigger a better deal for Britain within the EU as “being for the birds.”

Latest opinion polls show the result of the June 23 referendum as too close to call. If voters opt to leave the EU, the terms of the country’s departure will be negotiated over the next two years.

Respondents to the ZEW survey estimated the likelihood of a “Leave” vote as 44.1 percent, and said the economic consequences would be clear -- the country would face an immediate risk of a recession. The impact on the City of London would be negative or very negative, according to 90 percent of those surveyed.

That did nothing to damp optimism over Germany’s own outlook. A ZEW gauge of investor confidence in the nation unexpectedly improved in June.

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