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Market turmoil as UK votes for Brexit, PM Cameron to quit, Carney pledges backstop

David Cameron has announced his resignation as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom after the shock victory for the campaign to leave the European Union.

Cameron said in a statement Friday that he is likely to be gone by the time of the Conservative Party conference in October.

The leave camp secured 51.9 percent of the vote in the U.K. with 17.4 million votes, throwing markets around the world into turmoil and prompting sterling to hit its lowest level since 1985.

The Prime Minister's statement came as stock markets around Europe saw significant falls.

Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, sought to calm markets Friday morning with a pledge to provide an extra £250 billion ($344 billion) in liquidity. He assured markets that U.K. banks were well-funded as their share prices tanked.

The European Central Bank also confirmed in a statement that it "stands ready to provide additional liquidity" if needed.

The vote, which some opinion polls had failed to predict, has also raised the prospect of further constitutional turmoil in the U.K. Leader of the Scottish Nationalist Party, Nicola Sturgeon, has warned that Scotland could soon be holding another independence referendum.

The opposition Labour Party is also in disarray, with several lawmakers seeking a vote of no confidence in leader Jeremy Corbin over his lackluster support for the remain campaign.

Germany's Chancellor, Angela Merkel, told reporters in Germany Friday that she deeply regretted the vote but added that the situation called for calm and "not to rush into any decisions".

Across Europe, stock markets sank, with the pan-European STOXX 600 index closing around 7 percent lower on the day.

Markets around the world have been roiled by the shock result:

  • In Japan, the Nikkei 225 closed 7.9 percent down.
  • Sterling hit a more-than-30 year low against the U.S. dollar at $1.3224.
  • The prices of Brent and WTI crude oil futures dropped around 4 percent.
  • The yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury notes fell as much as 14 percent.

One of the leaders of the leave campaign, and frontrunner to succeed Cameron, former London mayor Boris Johnson, told a news conference that Thursday night's vote showed that "Britons had voted to take back control from an EU that was too opaque" but added that "we cannot turn our backs on Europe."

Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, warned against "hysterical reactions".

"Today, on behalf of the 27 leaders, I can say that we are determined to keep our unity as 27. For all of us, the union is the framework for our common future," he said in a statement.

The ramifications of the result are reverberating across the U.K., EU and the wider political and economic establishment.

Nigel Farage, the leader of the U.K. Independence Party (UKIP) who has been a prominent member of the leave campaign, claimed victory, saying June 23 would become known as the U.K.'s "Independence Day" and should be declared a national holiday. The UKIP leader also called for a "Brexit government."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a statement in Berlin, Germany, June 24, 2016, after Britain voted to leave the European Union in the EU BREXIT referendum.
Hannibal Hanschke | Reuters
German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a statement in Berlin, Germany, June 24, 2016, after Britain voted to leave the European Union in the EU BREXIT referendum.

The vote to leave will have implications across Europe for the global financial industry, especially as the City of London played on its access to the European Union.

In a memo to staff, JPMorgan's chief executive, Jamie Dimon, warned staff on Friday "we may need to make changes to our European legal entity structure and the location of some roles. While these changes are not certain, we have to be prepared to comply with new laws as we serve our clients around the world."

Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and chief executive of Goldman Sachs, sought to calm markets' nerves in a statement emphasizing that the bank has a "long history of adapting to change" and has been planning for the potential consequences of this result "for many months".

Brexit: LIVE RESULTS

The total has shown a wider margin of support for the leave campaign. Nonetheless, several declarations from inner-city areas in London, Northern Ireland and Scotland showed strong support for remaining in the EU.

As the result became apparent, some nationalist Scottish and Northern Irish politicians slammed the result, saying that it did not represent their electorates' views.

The referendum's expected result was not predicted by most analysts. Several polls released earlier Thursday had pointed to a lead for the remain camp and prominent members of the leave campaign, including Farage, had been ready to concede victory to the remain camp.

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