George Soros, the billionaire who once gained international fame by betting against the pound, and profiting handsomely from that hedge, warned British voters they ought to stay in the European Union or else suffer a massive financial hit that would rock world markets.
In an opinion in the Guardian, Soros said Britain’s exit from the European Union would devalue the pound by 15 percent or more, from it’s current $1.46 level to less than $1.15.
“The value of the pound would decline precipitously,” he said. “It would also have an immediate and dramatic impact on financial markets, investment, prices and jobs.”
Brits are set to vote on their EU participation this Thursday. And Soros warned: A vote to leave would mean a worse financial crisis than in 1992, when he hedged against the sterling and bet it was overvalued against the German mark, forcing Britain’s then-prime minister, John Major, to pull the pound from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism.
“I would expect this devaluation to be bigger and also more disruptive than the 15 percent devaluation that occurred in September 1992, when I was fortunate enough to make a substantial profit for my hedge fund investors,” Soros said.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, meanwhile, issued a plea for voters to stay in the European Union as well, saying the partnership “amplifies our power” and scolding that “Brits don’t quit.”
Cameron also said the economy would be weaker if Britain left the bloc, and also face security risks. At a speech on Tuesday, he called on parents and grandparents to vote yes on the European Union in order to secure the future for the younger generations, the Guardian said.