Britain would fall into recession, the pound would collapse and shop prices would rocket in the event of a no-deal Brexit, credit ratings agency Moody’s has warned.
In a grim reminder of what is at stake as Britain’s Conservative Government scrambles to avert a chaotic EU exit, Moody’s said the probability of a no-deal Brexit has “risen materially”.
“The immediate impact of a no-deal Brexit would likely be seen first in a sharp fall in the value of the British pound, as was also evident after the 2016 UK-wide referendum on whether to remain in or leave the EU.
“The fall in the exchange rate would lead to temporarily higher inflation and hence a further squeeze on real wages over the following two to three years, which in turn would weigh on consumer spending and depress growth.”
The report added that unemployment would rise, the British Treasury would be knocked by lower tax revenue and the UK could “fall into recession very quickly”.
The automotive, airline, aerospace and chemicals sectors would be most severely affected, Moody’s said, as they account for the largest trade flows in goods with the EU.
The impact on the retail sector would be “substantial” as higher World Trade Organisation tariffs take their toll.
“We still think the UK and the EU will eventually reach an agreement to preserve many – but not all – of their current trading arrangements, particularly around trade in goods,” said Colin Ellis, Moody’s chief credit officer and co-author of the report.
“However, we believe the prospect of the UK leaving the EU without any agreement has risen materially.”
The warning comes as the Government publishes its next set of technical papers on what could happen if Britain leaves the EU without an exit agreement.