UBS’s Weber: Europe not “out of the woods” after French election

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UBS chairman Axel Weber has warned bankers that Europe is not “out of the woods” from its political risks even after Emmanuel Macron’s reassuring victory in the French presidential election.

Speaking in Tokyo, Mr Weber said that political risk in Europe remained “actually quite high” even though “we’ve seen the centre hold in France” with Macron’s victory over far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, and even though all the signs were that the centre will also hold in the upcoming German location elections.

“That doesn’t mean Europe is out of the woods,” he told the International Institute of Finance’s spring meeting. “There is still Italy where it is very unclear that the centre will hold. And there is still Greece.”

He continued: “Where you find some bright side….there are (also) some downside risks that are not really priced into the market but could derail (Europe).”

“Brexit is a time bomb… and the countdown is on. It will be two years from now,” Mr Weber said. He added that “if the British really do leave the customs union and single market there could be a lot of volatility which could impact on the global economy”.

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