Britain could deal a damaging blow to the fragile global economy if it votes to leave the European Union, according to the International Monetary Fund. As David Pollard reports, it was the sharpest warning yet from a global body about the risks associated with Brexit.
It's been a week David Cameron might rather forget. The Panama Papers posing uncomfortable questions for the UK prime minister over his financial affairs. Just as crisis unfolds in the UK steel industry - putting thousands of British jobs in danger. The real elephant in the room though is the looming Brexit referendum. And the IMF is not afraid to point to it. (SOUNDBITE) (English) IMF CHIEF ECONOMIST MAURICE OBSTFELD SAYING: "One manifestation of increased nationalism is the very real possibility that the United Kingdom exits the European Union damaging a wide range of trade and financial relationships." The IMF lists a Brexit alongside China, volatile share markets and slowing growth as a key global risk. And is cutting its UK GDP forecast to 1.9 per cent from 2.2. Outside of Japan, that's its sharpest downgrade for any advanced economy. The warnings are stacking up: February saw G20 leaders speak of their Brexit concerns. This week, the City of London said leaving the EU would be a shock to the financial industry. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HEAD OF CORPORATE DEVELOPMENT, SEVEN INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, JUSTIN URQUHART STEWART, SAYING: "The British economy is going through a period of significant self-doubt at the moment. Whilst that is hanging over us you have the perfect excuse for every single industry in Britain and outside Britain to say 'I'm not going to anything until they make up their mind what they're going to do.' New inflation data hints at a UK recovery with momentum - prices rising at their fastest in 15 months. But pre-referendum confidence appears to be going the other way. Britain, say some, in a Brexit funk - and in danger of talking itself into recession.