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Monday, December 7, 1998 Published at 16:27 GMT

Business: The Economy

Soros warns of euro dangers for UK

Sterling is more closely tied to the dollar than the euro, says George Soros

Billionaire speculator George Soros has warned that the UK would be left out of the development of the European Union by not signing up to the euro.

But Mr Soros also warned that it was very dangerous because "historically sterling moves much more with the dollar than with the continental currencies."

In an interview with BBC Radio 4's World at One, he said there should be some link made between the euro and the dollar before sterling joins up.

Speculation worries

The leading financier warned that the pound would be vulnerable to international speculators if the UK did not join the single currency.

Mr Soros famously "beat the Bank of England" in 1992 when he laid siege to sterling, forcing the pound out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) and making a reported $1bn in a day.

Britain will not join the January launch party of economic and monetary union (EMU), but London hopes to adopt the euro soon after elections, that must be held by mid-2002, if the UK's economic cycle has by then become more closely attuned with Europe.

Call for international regulation

As for the global financial turmoil in the past year, the market mover and shaker said he proposed the creation of a new credit insurance agency to help countries who were following the right policies but did not have enough capital.

"Now that markets are much more global, we have developed institutions to prevent the excesses. We have central banks and regulatory authorities, but these are national in scope.

"Now that markets are truly global, the international regulatory framework is really lagging very much behind."

George Soros's assessment of the world economy has shifted in just two months. "What I predict is the imminent disintegration of the global capitalist system," Soros says in his latest book, written shortly before the latest recovery.

"The system is deeply flawed. As long as capitalism remains triumphant, the pursuit of money overrides all other social considerations," he writes.

Despite his well-known successes in the currency markets, Mr Soros has been badly stung by the world's economic crisis. He lost $2bn in Russia's economic meltdown.

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