United Kingdom votes to leave the European Union


Amsterdam, June 24th 2016 - After weeks of speculation the future path for the United Kingdom’s relationship with the European Union is confirmed.

In a poll turnout of 72%, the decision to leave the EU is confirmed by a majority of 51.9%. Although the decision is reported as momentous, in practical terms few things will change in the immediate future. However, inevitably there will be some impacts felt in the UK and other member states.

A period of uncertainty is inevitable for the UK with the focus on political stability in light of Prime Minister David Cameron's announcement that he will step down from office before the end of 2016.

Following the ‘Brexit’ decision, leading trade credit insurer Atradius has released an economic briefing highlighting the key sectors that are expected to be effected by the leave vote and predicting that insolvencies may rise in the short-term, for example  in Ireland, the Netherlands and Belgium, due to close trade and investment ties. However, it is anticipated that most other European countries would see little impact.

For the UK, in anticipation of a potential leave vote, some impact has already been felt with the depreciation of the British pound and delayed investment in businesses and staff. Following the Brexit decision UK GDP is expected to reduce by 1% to 3% in the next two years. The structure of trade agreements over the coming two years will determine the longer term impact.

An impact will also be felt elsewhere. For example for the Netherlands foreign direct investment will be affected and for Ireland and Norway export trade could be impacted. Further, the Benelux countries and Ireland are expected to see increases in insolvencies ranging from 1% to 3.5%. The change in insolvencies in other European countries is expected to be negligible.

In the UK the economy had settled to a more moderate growth of 0.4% in the first quarter. However, the vote to leave has had an immediate impact on the exchange rate against all primary currencies. Whilst we acknowledge that trading treaties need to be addressed, in the short term, businesses trading overseas will continue and benefit from a lower exchange rate.

Andreas Tesch, Atradius
Andreas Tesch
Chief Market Officer


There will be no short term impact on our underwriting stance for the UK market.  When the emotion of the result subsides, it is important to recognise that UK business will adapt and those with strong management, executing a clear and well-funded strategy, will continue to thrive. The UK continues to be open for business and so do we. Businesses that choose to credit insure recognise that a robust risk management strategy enables trade and we remain confident that we can support our customers to grow their businesses, in the domestic market, in Europe and in other markets around the world.

Alun Sweeney
Alun Sweeney
Country Director Atradius UK & Ireland


The Atradius Economic Briefing can be downloaded from: atradius.com

About Atradius

Atradius provides trade credit insurance, surety and collections services worldwide through a strategic presence in 50 countries. Atradius has access to credit information on 200 million companies worldwide. Its credit insurance, bonding and collections products help protect companies throughout the world from payment risks associated with selling products and services on trade credit. Atradius forms part of Grupo Catalana Occidente (GCO.MC), one of the leading insurers in Spain and worldwide in credit insurance.