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Sterling surges with indications Remain may have edged referendum

Published 23/06/2016

Sterling hit 1.48 US dollars
Sterling hit 1.48 US dollars

Sterling surged against the dollar as voting closed in the EU referendum after a final poll put Remain ahead and Ukip's Nigel Farage appeared to concede defeat.

The pound hit a fresh high against the greenback, rising to 1.50 US dollars, its strongest performance since December 2015, as traders continued to bet on Britain's continued EU membership. It has since eased to 1.496.

A YouGov poll of 5,000 people had Remain ahead 52% to 48%.

Michael Hewson of CMC Markets said: "As the final poll from YouGov hit the wires sterling pushed back higher again towards the 1.50 level. With Nigel Farage also admitting that Remain may have edged it, it would appear that the fat lady is in the act of clearing her throat and readying herself to sing."

The pound has now surged by 5% over the past seven days as Brexit fears have receded, enjoying its best weekly performance since 1985 and reclaiming all its losses since the start of the year. On Monday, sterling notched up its biggest one-day gain against the dollar for nearly eight years.

Currency analysts expect volatility whichever way the vote goes.

Joe Rundle, of ETX Capital, said: "Markets have been betting heavily on a Remain vote all day, with the FTSE and sterling rising strongly as polls point to Britons giving Brexit the thumbs down.

"For now markets are pretty calm but these are only forecasts - we're waiting for the first declarations from the first counts to get a clearer picture."

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