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NEW YORK/CHICAGO (Reuters) - The risk that Britain could yank itself out of the European Union had been telegraphed for over a year, but even U.S. companies with "Brexit" contingency plans have said they were shocked it is now on track to become reality, and are just beginning to work through all of the implications. Caught off guard, some U.S. firms have rushed to place foreign currency orders hedging against further declines in the British pound.
The European Parliament's chief called Sunday for British Prime Minister David Cameron to begin formal proceedings to leave the EU at a summit this week. Martin Schulz told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag that a period of limbo over Brexit would "lead to even more insecurity and thus endanger jobs". "Hesitating simply to accommodate the party tactics of the British Conservatives hurts everyone," he said.