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Reasons not to be totally depressed about Leave vote

Britain's vote to leave the European Union (EU) has toppled a prime minister, torpedoed the pound, and sent global asset prices tumbling, all in the space of a morning. But there are a few reasons for you to moderate your despair in adjusting to this brave new world.

1. THIS ISN'T A LEHMAN MOMENT

Your Bloomberg terminal will doubtless have been flashing red in all the wrong places on Friday morning... unless, of course, you were short sterling and European equities and long gold and bitcoin. But Brexit hasn't sparked systemic panic. It's a far cry from 2008, when the world only just coped with the fallout from banks' mania for slicing and dicing US mortgages. Payment and settlement seem to be happening just fine. Financial markets have had plenty of opportunity to prepare for the possibility of Brexit and adjust risk-pricing accordingly.

That doesn't mean it will be a cake walk: Foreign direct investment in Britain will probably fall, free trade with the EU may be impaired in the long term and Britain may experience a recession. But this isn't a Lehman moment.

2. CENTRAL BANKERS WILL UNLEASH FURY, IF NEEDED

Bank of England governor Mark Carney was channelling Mr Mario Draghi's "Whatever it Takes" speech on Friday morning when he said the Bank of England "will not hesitate" to take action as required. His grave tone and the setting were reminiscent of a president declaring war on a rogue state. Mr Carney pledged to inject an additional £250 billion (S$462 billion) of liquidity, if necessary.

If we learnt anything from the 2008 crisis it's that Mr Market likes big numbers. Central banks' fire- power is much diminished: interest rates can't fall much further. But we haven't had a bank run.

3. HOUSE PRICES COULD ACTUALLY FALL IN LONDON

A swathe of London bankers may be forced to up sticks for the continent. That will doubtless please those who don't earn a princeling's retainer in London and may now be able to live somewhere that doesn't resemble a shoebox. That is, unless they're crowded out by super-rich foreigners looking for a safe place to park their money. The consolidation for finance's new migrants is that your money will go a lot further in Frankfurt than London. This 16-room villa can be yours for less than the price of a one-bedroom flat in Chelsea. Everyone's a winner.

4. BRITS WILL HOLIDAY AT HOME AND THE UK IS ON SALE

The pound's sell-off means there will be fewer Brits dragging down the cool factor on Ibiza's beaches or at the Burning Man festival this summer. They may opt for a staycation instead.

Meanwhile, the sterling drubbing has made posing for a selfie with a Justin Bieber waxwork at Madame Tussauds a whole lot cheaper for pretty much everyone else in the world. That's good news for British hotel chains and attractions.

5. NEED MORE CONVINCING?

By the end of the day a good chunk of FTSE 100 shares were in positive territory. So much for the Brexit shock. British American Tobacco shares were up on the day, for example.

So you see, in the wake of Brexit, more people will get to hug Justin Bieber, move to Germany and smoke themselves silly. And you thought there were no reasons to be cheerful about Brexit.

BLOOMBERG

•With assistance from Gadfly writers Andrea Felsted and Lionel Laurent.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 27, 2016, with the headline 'Reasons not to be totally depressed about Leave vote'. Print Edition | Subscribe