Brexit delay averts 'terrible outcome': IMF's Lagarde

10:47 | 12/04/2019 Cooperation

The European Union decision to offer Britain a six-month delay in exiting the economic bloc averts disaster but perpetuates the uncertainty of Brexit, IMF chief Christine Lagarde said Thursday (Apr 11).

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde speaks at the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington, DC - Source: AFP

"At least the UK is not leaving on the 12th of April without a deal," Lagarde told reporters at the start of the IMF's spring meetings with the World Bank.

"It probably gives time for the economic agents to better prepare for all options, I'm particularly thinking of the industrialists and the workers in the UK, in order to try to secure their future."

European leaders on Wednesday agreed to delay Brexit by up to six months, preventing what could have been a chaotic exit from the EU on Friday without a deal to govern economic ties with the bloc.

But even so Lagarde said this effectively kicked the can down the road.

"It's obvious that it's continued uncertainty and it does not resolve, other than by postponing what would have been a terrible outcome, because we believe that in terms of economic consequences a no-deal Brexit would have been a terrible outcome."

The IMF highlighted uncertainty surrounding Brexit and trade conflicts around the world as a key risk to global growth, which is slowing this year.

Theo Channelnewsasia/AFP