Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Brexit Quiver
The United Kingdom became the first independent nation to break away from the European Union, a 28-member block, in a referendum held yesterday. The said referendum was conducted on last Thursday, the 23 June, to decide whether the UK should leave or remain in the European Union. Leave won by 52% to 48%, dealing the biggest blow to European efforts at greater unity since the second world war. 

There are now fears the vote could set off a chain reaction of further breakaway bids by other EU members battling hostility to Brussels. There are also worries that the outcome could pave the way for the break-up of the UK itself after Scotland raised the prospect of another independence vote. 

Fortunately or unfortunately, highlighting the discord, a petition demanding a second EU referendum had gathered more than 550,000 signatures late on Friday.

The referendum turnout was 71.8%, with more than 30 million people voting. It was the highest turnout in a UK-wide vote since the 1992 general election. 

The US Federal Reserve, which had earlier said a Brexit could have "significant repercussions" on the economic outlook, sought to calm markets on Friday by saying it was ready to provide dollar liquidity. In India too, Dr.Raghuram Rajan had an identical view to deal with this situation.

Amid the turmoil, sterling hit a 31-year low in its biggest intraday percentage fall on record and Prime Minister David Cameron said he would step down by October.

The fallout started immediately: the pound collapsed, prompting recession fears, and by the end of the day Brexit panic had wiped $2tn off the world economy.

European leaders reacted strongly to the vote by insisting that Britain should start negotiations to leave immediately. The UK has also been told that its access to the internal EU market would be restricted – the “price”, it was said, for leaving.

Ratings agency Moody's said Britain's creditworthiness was now at greater risk, as the country would face substantial challenges to successfully negotiate its exit from the bloc.

Huge questions also face the large numbers of British expatriates who live and work freely elsewhere in the EU, as well the fate of EU citizens who live and work in Britain.

Political figures on both sides of the debate, however, insisted there was no need to rush through the process.

Once Article 50 is invoked, it could take Britain up to two years to actually leave the EU.

During the two-year negotiation period, EU laws would still apply to the UK. Moreover, once Article 50 is triggered, the terms of Brexit will be negotiated not by British politicians or diplomats, but by the other 27 nations of the EU.

Though, it is estimated that the official British divorce from Europe would take at least two years, but EU president Donald Tusk has warned that the whole process of negotiating trade and immigration deals with a non-EU Britain could take seven years in all.

The UK however, would continue to participate in other EU business as normal, but it would not participate in internal EU discussions or decisions about its own withdrawal. 

And, when the members are ready, they will present the British government with a departure agreement on a "take it or leave it" basis.

The British vote to leave the European Union has brought the British pound down to a 31-year low, meaning UK house prices are now cheaper for foreign investors, buying in foreign currency.

Property analysts in the UK, predict a slowdown in property price growth in the UK, and even a fall in nominal prices, with London to be affected the most. 

The foreign travel to the UK, might also become more cheap, boosting the bottomline of Tours and Travel companies.

A decline in the value of the sterling could also be a catalyst for increased foreign investment in the UK due to attractive returns.

Also, the Indian Real Estate sector, would continue do well backed by policy reforms like RERA, apart from other factors.

On the flip side, India could provide the much needed stability, given the ongoing reforms at a satisfactory pace and that its inflation has remained controlled over the last few months. Also, given a normal monsoon forecast for this year, even food inflation could be kept in control in the near-to-medium term while triggering a healthy growth of agriculture and rural economy.

Given that BREXIT has happened, it is now a no-brainer to foresee, a delayed rate hike by the US Federal Reserve, which is positive for the emerging world, including India.

Apart from the real estate, infrastructure structure would also, do well. I have already recommended few stocks, like Unitech Ltd (Rs.5.43), Lanco Infratech Ltd (Rs.4.53), JSW Energy Ltd (Rs.79.95), etc sometime back. You can continue add the scrips on intra-day dips. 

However, avoid the shares of the real estate companies, who has bet big on London’s property market, like Indiabulls Real Estate Ltd (Rs.86.25), Sobha Ltd (Rs.303.25), etc, for any short term play.  These developers will now face multiple challenges including sluggish sales and a plunge in prices in the UK, say industry observers. 

The Global Research House, Nomura says: "Immediate priority for policymakers is to ensure sufficient USD and INR liquidity to keep markets well-oiled. We believe that the RBI would step up its open market operations and provide dollar liquidity through its FX reserves, if necessary".

I personally feel that it is the best time to accumulate beaten down stocks, from sectors, which have less exposure to the EU and UK (avoid Information Technology or IT stocks). 
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