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Scotland Independence Could Wreak Havoc on Economy, British Pound

Ruben Ramirez
9/18/14 9:28 AM EDT
A Scottish vote for independence could impact everything from economic activity in the region to the value of the British pound and have far-reaching implications for other groups in Europe seeking independence. Mizuho International's Chief European Economist Riccardo Barbieri tell's TheStreetTV that, 'there is no plan on how a separation would happen and it would create a lot of uncertainty and depress economic activity.' Beyond a hit to economic growth, Barbieri says the pound would likely weaken on expectations that a depreciation in the exchange rate between the pound and other currencies would also be necessary to attract foreign capital as a way to make up for lost oil revenue from Scotland. Scottish oil revenue adds about two percentage points to the U.K.'s trade balance, according to Barbieri. Aside from the economic implications of a breakaway Scotland, a much bigger issue could be that it would add fire to the flames of other separatist movements in Europe and create political conflict and uncertainty, namely in the Spanish region of Catalonia where there is likely to be a referendum on the ballot in November for independence and in Belgium where there has been increasing talk of a separation between the Flemish and the French speaking areas. Barbieri says, 'it could encourage those who have been looking for independence in parts of different nations to resume that effort.' TheStreet's Ruben Ramirez reports from New York.

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