Brexit set to bash Brits but not bolster Trump: CNBC survey

Global CFO Council survey results

The U.K. economy will be negatively affected by the country's vote to leave the EU, according to a new CNBC survey of chief financial officers (CFOs), with the results also suggesting the recent referendum will do little to boost the chances of Donald Trump becoming the next U.S. president.

Ninety-seven percent of global CFOs across a wide range of industries said that Brexit would have a "negative" or "very negative" impact on the U.K. economy over the next six months, with 81.8 percent stating the same for the economy of the European Union.

The respondents - which were mostly from the U.S. - indicated that the political split would have little impact across the other side of the Atlantic. Only 27.3 percent said Brexit would have a negative impact on the U.S. economy, none said "very negative" and 9.1 percent expected it to have a "positive" effect.

After the shock vote to leave the EU on June 23, British consumers and businesses are nervously watching the horizon for the first signs of a downturn. Goldman Sachs is predicting a "mild recession" in 2017 and the country's Finance Minister George Osborne has warned it won't be "plain sailing ahead."

Decreasing headcount?

Another survey has already shone a light on British businesses and their plans in a post-Brexit environment, or at least the interim period of uncertainty until the U.K. knows more about its future outside of the EU. A poll by the Institute of Directors (IoD) on Monday June 27 showed that nearly two-thirds of its 1,092 members thought the result is negative for their business, with 24 percent expecting to put a freeze on recruitment, and 5 percent expecting to make redundancies.

The CNBC survey showed that only one of the 33 CFOs to respond said Brexit is the biggest risk to its business right now. Additionally, only one CFO said his or her firm would decrease U.K. headcount.

Comments from respondents centered on the "economic uncertainty" following the vote and worries of a "further breakup" of Europe with other countries following the Brits out the door. One reply in the survey even highlighted the possibility of the U.K. holding another referendum on its membership of the EU.

One possible positive for the U.K. in these volatile times was the perception of the U.K. The country's legal structure and rule of law and its "access to talent" were most often cited as reasons the U.K. is an attractive place to do business, according to the survey. This is in contrast to its access to the EU's single market which it looks likely to lose depending on how the negotiations develop.

Race to the White House

Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Appleton, Wisconsin on March 30th, 2016.
Getty Images

Political pundits and academics have tried to associate the Brexit vote with an anti-establishment movement and a protest against globalization, suggesting it could help a wave of nationalism to spread across the globe.

Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump is one figurehead who has aligned himself with nationalism with his views on trade tariffs and his promise to build a wall between Mexico and the U.S. However, the results of the CNBC CFO Council survey suggest that the U.K. vote will have little effect on Trump's chances, indicating that Hillary Clinton - the established politician - will easily win the race to the White House.

Eighty-nine percent expect Clinton to win the election in November and a higher percentage of U.S. respondents expect her to win, compared to a May survey by CNBC. There is one word of warning, however: 77 percent of CFOs in our May survey were expecting the U.K to vote to remain in the European Union.

Complete survey results below:

(Note: 33 of the 105 current members of the CNBC Global CFO Council responded to this special survey on Brexit (21 U.S., 5 EMEA, and 7 APAC). Members represent a diverse mix of public and private companies from around the world, with more than $4 trillion in market capitalization.) The latest CNBC Global CFO Council survey, was conducted between June 30 and July 6.

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