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JPMORGAN: Scotland will leave the UK and get a new currency

A Saltire flag decorated with stars representing the European Union is held at a demonstration outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh ahead of a statement on Brexit by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.Andrew Milligan / PA Wire/Press Association ImagesA Saltire flag decorated with stars representing the European Union is held at a demonstration outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh ahead of a statement on Brexit by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

JPMorgan is almost certain that Scotland will leave the UK before an official Brexit and believes the newly independent country will adopt a new currency for the first time in 300 years.

The investment bank writes in a note titled “How Brexit Happens:”

“Intersecting the UK’s EU exit process is likely to be pressure to hold a new referendum on Scottish independence, which we expect will ultimately generate a vote shortly before the UK leaves the EU in 2019.

“Our base case is that Scotland will vote for independence and institute a new currency at that point. We will cover this issue in detail in a subsequent email.”

It is not clear whether JPMorgan expects Scotland to adopt the euro or an entirely new currency. The bank says it will cover its forecast for Scotland in more detail in a future note, although, obviously, the future currency would depend on whether Scotland ends up in the EU.

If Scotland does adopt a new currency, it will be the first time the country has had a different coinage to the UK since 1707 when it became part of the United Kingdom. Prior to that it used gold and silver coins with names like groat, ducat, and pistole.

The assumption of an independent Scotland and the new currency is part of JPMorgan’s base case of how the Brexit process will play out over the next few years. The bank believes the whole process will take until 2019.

Scotland’s leader Nicola Sturgeon began pushing for a second referendum on Scottish independence almost as soon as the Brexit vote came in last week. Scotland decisively voted to remain in the EU with 62% voting for Remain compared to 38% who voted for Leave.

Sturgeon is in Brussels on Wednesday to meet with European Parliament leaders to discuss Scotland’s position in Europe. The Financial Times reports that Sturgeon has said she will “protect our relationship with the European Union.” However, the FT also reports that Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has said there cannot be separate negotiations between Edinburgh and Brussels.

However, constitutional expert Peter Catterall of Westminster University told Business Insider this week he does not think there will be a second referendum on Scottish independence, following the vote in 2014. That’s because it would be hugely “messy” on a political level and because the Scottish economy simply cannot handle a secession right now.

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