SYDNEY (AFP) - Australia's relationship with Britain will stay "very strong and intimate", Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Friday (June 24), adding he was confident negotiations over a free-trade deal with the European Union would not be jeopardised by the Brexit vote.
Australian financial markets joined global exchanges in a sea of red as Britons voted to exit the bloc, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 down almost 4 per cent during the day's trade.
"I have no doubt... that our very strong and intimate relations with the United Kingdom will be entirely unaffected," Mr Turnbull told reporters in Devonport in the southern island of Tasmania. "And our very strong relations with Europe, with continental Europe, which are leading towards negotiations to a free-trade agreement, will also continue.
"We have enhanced our relations with the major continental European economies in recent years, in particular, of course, Germany and France."
The multi-millionaire former banker said there would be a period of uncertainty and some instability in global markets but stressed "there is no cause for Australians to be alarmed by these developments".
Mr Turnbull added that the impact on Australian trade deals in the short-term were likely to be "very limited" as it would take some years for Britain to negotiate its exit from the EU.
"We have to recognise that the global recovery is, in some parts of the world, fragile. So this uncertainty plays into that environment," he said.