SPARE a thought for Brammer, a British supplier of bearings and other industrial gear for factories in Europe. The exporter had boasted revenues of £717m last year (then $960m), but sales dipped before the referendum. Brammer now faces a rout, amid warnings of slumping demand and currency headaches (because the firm has lots of dollar- and euro- denominated debt). By July 5th its share price had tumbled by two-thirds since voting day—more than any firm listed in London.

If Brammer is a contender to be the company worst-affected by Brexit, it is not alone in the gloom. By one measure of global connectedness—combining indices of cross-border loans, legal relationships, data-storage hubs and so on—Britain’s economy is one of the most open in the world. The earnings generated by foreign firms from their investments in Britain amount to £70 billion, equivalent to about 10% of all of the profits made by the top 500 European listed firms, or roughly 1% of global business profits.

Plenty of these investors have placed bets on Britain’s domestic market, which had previously been buoyant but now faces the risk of recession. Li Ka-shing, a...Continue reading