Original source: Zero Hedge
The big guns are officially out.
Just yesterday, we recounted the story of “Black Wednesday” when on September 16, 1992, the UK was forced out of the EU’s exchange-rate mechanism, or ERM, when the BOE tapped out and allowed the British pound to float freely, leading to 15% losses in the sterling. As we noted, this was George Soros’ infamous trade which “broke the Bank of England” and made the Hungarian richer by over $1.5 bilion.
24 years later Soros is back, and this time he is warning against the kind of devaluation that made him a billionaire and which he believes will be unleashed by Brexit, when in a Guardian Op-Ed he wrote that U.K. voters are “grossly underestimating” the true costs of a vote to leave the EU, saying that there would be an “immediate and dramatic impact on financial markets, investment, prices and jobs.”
He predicts that the pound would decline “precipitously”, seeing a gargantuan drop of at least 15% and possibly >20% to below $1.15. Considering it has now become trendy for analysts to come up with ever “doomier” forecasts of just how low cable would plunge in case of Brexit, we are surprised Soros stopped there.
Here Soros makes the distinction how the collapse in cable would be different from the one that made him richer by saying that this devaluation wouldn’t be “healthy” like the one in 1992 because BOE wouldn’t cut rates, U.K. has large current account deficit and devaluation unlikely to improve manufacturing exports this time. Just don’t tell that to the BOJ, which would gladly leave the EU – twice if it had to – if it meant a 20% devaluation.
“Brexit would make some people very rich – but most voters considerably poorer”; “there are speculative forces in the, markets much bigger and more powerful” than the speculators that profited from the 1967 devaluation at Britain’s expense. “A vote to leave could see the week end with a Black Friday, and serious consequences for ordinary people.”
Here is the gist of Soros’ scaremongering, from the Guardian op-ed titled “The Brexit crash will make all of you poorer – be warned“:
David Cameron, along with the Treasury, the Bank of England, the International Monetary Fund and others have been attacked by the leave campaign for exaggerating the economic risks of Brexit. This criticism has been widely accepted by the British media and many financial analysts. As a result, British voters are now grossly underestimating the true costs of leaving.
As opinion polls on the referendum result fluctuate, I want to offer a clear set of facts, based on my six decades of experience in financial markets, to help voters understand the very real consequences of a vote to leave the EU.
Of course, Soros’ set of facts may be clouded by his far greater equity stake in equity interests around Europe, and the globe, which would be drastially impacted by not only a Brexit, but by a European Union which is suddenly on the rocks.
From that point on, Soros’ entire analysis is on the “worst case” scenario centered around a collapsing pound, something which most ironically every other central bank around the globe is so desperate to achieve:
… sterling is almost certain to fall steeply and quickly if there is a vote to leave– even more so after yesterday’s rebound as markets reacted to the shift in opinion polls towards remain. I would expect this devaluation to be bigger and more disruptive than the 15% devaluation that occurred in September 1992, when I was fortunate enough to make a substantial profit for my hedge fund investors, at the expense of the Bank of England and the British government.
At least he is honest…