World financial leaders sounded a sour note on the global economy on Thursday, pointing to Britain’s possible exit from the European Union as a serious threat alongside China’s bumpy growth path and dissent over interest rates in the euro zone. Concern that British voters are edging closer to leaving the EU in a June 23 referendum has spooked finance ministers, central bankers and other officials gathered here for the International Monetary Fund and World Bank spring meetings.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde signalled policymakers’ heightened fears that a “Brexit” could derail Europe’s shaky economic recovery and reverberate further afield. “We have clearly elevated ‘Brexit’ as one of the serious downside risks on the horizon of global growth,” Lagarde said in a press conference just two days after the IMF cut its 2016 global growth forecasts for the fourth time in less than a year. FULL REPORT