Britain’s vote last Thursday to leave the European Union continued to reverberate through financial markets on Monday, with the pound falling to its lowest level in 31 years, despite government attempts to relieve some of the confusion about the political and economic outlook.
UK finance minister George Osborne said early Monday that the British economy was strong enough to cope with the market volatility caused by last week’s “Brexit” referendum which has resulted in the biggest blow since World War Two to the European goal of forging greater unity.
“Our economy is about as strong as it could be to confront the challenge our country now faces,” Osborne told reporters.
“It is inevitable after Thursday’s vote that Britain’s economy is going to have to adjust to the new situation we find ourselves in,” he added.
Boris Johnson, a leading proponent of Brexit and the frontrunner to replace David Cameron as prime minister, praised Osborne for saying “some reassuring things to the markets”.
The former London mayor said it was now clear that “people’s pensions are safe, the pound is stable, markets are stable. I think that is all very good news.”
But neither Osborne’s nor Johnson’s words failed to stop the slide in stocks on world markets which began last Friday when Britons confounded investors’ expectations by voting to end 43 years of EU membership.