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Quick Takes

Taking the Pulse: Trade War & Brexit Threats

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March 08, 2019

Brexit 209Geopolitical risks ranked among the top causes of insomnia in surveys of treasurers and assistant treasurers ahead of NeuGroup’s round of 2019 spring meetings. So it’s interesting that members of Treasurers’ Group of Mega-Caps sounded a definitively optimistic note that the trade war between the US and China will be resolved soon. In a real-time Slido poll at the group’s 2019 H1 meeting at Mastercard’s New York City Technology Hub, 93% of attendees said they think a trade deal will be reached in the next 30 days. Anecdotally, some members said their companies will be hurt by the tariffs (and China’s slowing economy), with one treasurer saying the damage will be limited by producing goods “in China for China.”

That was in the morning. In an afternoon survey, members had less unanimity on this question: Do you have any Brexit contingency plans if your primary UK bank is unable to operate (e.g., alternate payroll or supplier payment plans)? Fewer than two-thirds (64%) of respondents said yes, with 36% saying no. Among those who said yes, one told the group his company has plans for a “hard Brexit.” Another member told peers that Brexit prep is a priority for her company, which is moving an in-house bank from the UK to Holland that will include virtual accounts.

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