World Bulletin / News Desk
Britain's vote to leave the European Union heightens risks for the world economy, finance chiefs from the G20 group of leading countries said Sunday.
The outcome of June's referendum "adds to the uncertainty in the global economy", they said in a communique after a meeting of central bankers and government officials in the Chinese city of Chengdu.
But they insisted that G20 countries were "well positioned to proactively address the potential economic and financial consequences" of the vote, adding: "In the future, we hope to see the UK as a close partner of the EU."
But participants said Brexit was at the forefront of concerns at the meeting in Chengdu, the last before the G20 summit in September.
Philip Hammond, Britain's finance minister, told reporters the subject had come up "a great deal".
"The reality is there will be a measure of uncertainty continuing right up to the conclusion of our negotiations with the EU," he said.
Before the meeting, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) downgraded its forecasts for global growth this year and next by 0.1 percentage points, to 3.1 percent and 3.4 percent respectively.
"'Brexit' marks the materialisation of an important downside risk to global growth," IMF staff said in a report, adding that as it was "still very much unfolding, more negative outcomes are a distinct possibility".
Officials in Chengdu said protracted or acrimonious talks between the EU and Britain over the departure could heighten the dangers.
US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew stressed to his European and British counterparts "the need for negotiations to take place in a smooth, pragmatic and transparent manner".
"A highly integrated relationship between the UK and the EU is in the best interests of Europe, the United States and the global economy," he told journalists after the meeting.