IMF says any Brexit scenario will cost the UK, with no deal posing the biggest threat to the economy

Christine Lagarde
Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF                                               (Picture credit Alexandros Michailidis /

Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), warns that a no deal Brexit leading the UK to return to World Trade Organization rules will be extremely costly for the UK. Anna Tobin reports

The newly published IMF’s annual review of the British economy concludes that any Brexit outcome will be costly for the UK, but a no-deal scenario will be the most significant. Speaking at the Treasury today, Christine Lagarde said: “Overcoming differences and reaching a deal with the EU will be crucial to avoid a no-deal Brexit, which would impose very large costs on the UK economy. Indeed, leaving the EU without an agreement on the framework for the future economic relationship and an implementation period to get there is the most significant near-term risk to the UK economy…

“For the UK, we are projecting growth of about 1½ percent this year and next, down from about 1¾ percent in 2016 and 2017. As we noted last year, Brexit-related effects are the driving factor for the slowdown in growth since the referendum…

“Let me be clear: compared with today’s smooth single market, all the likely Brexit scenarios will have costs for the UK economy, and to a lesser extent for the EU, as well.” Read Lagarde’s full speech here.

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