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Published On: Mon, Sep 8th, 2014

GBP/USD hammered as Scotland independence opinion poll yields 51 percent positive vote

The sterling sank to the lowest in a 10-month period against the US dollar on Monday, as the results of a YouGov poll on Scotland’s independence yielded 51 percent supporters of the split.

The GBP/USD sank to the lowest in 10 months on Monday, as the results of a YouGov poll on Scotland’s independence yielded 51 percent supporters of the split


The GBP/USD plummeted to the lowest in 10 months on Monday, as the opinion poll on Scottish vote showed readiness for voting in favor of separating from the UK. The referendum is scheduled for September 18. The respondents favoring the breakoff predominate with 51 percent, as shown by the YouGov poll.

Until recently, the likelihood of Scotland’s separation did not seem a likely prospect to financial markets, and London-based authorities shared the disbelief. Main political parties’ leaders showered promises of new powers that Scotland would gain if it stayed within the UK.

The sterling slumped to its lowest in 13 months, by over 1 percent, touching 1.6103 in early European trade. The EUR/GBP was nearly 1 percent lower too, thus dipping the Bank of England’s trade-weighted sterling index to the lowest since end April. Yet, in the longer-term, investors are not so sure that a positive vote on the referendum would be necessarily bad for the British pound.

The past 18 months showed the UK economy was at the forefront in Europe, thus shooting the currency a whopping 15 percent higher against the dollar. The growth is expected to slow down a bit, but the upcoming Scottish vote is not likely to change the picture.

Analysts point massive risks exist for business and financial markets, owing to a positive vote which would be followed by heated negotiations. However, following weeks of selling the larger amount of risk to the sterling might be already factored in.

A potential vote in favor of the split would be the threshold to a period of uncertainty over issues related to that independence, division of assets, liabilities, the currency that Scotland would choose, etc. This would result in higher volatility for the GBP with a downside bias.

Technical charts show solid support for the sterling at about $1.6000 to $1.6100. Both moving averages, 100-week and 200-week one, are in that area now.

The sterling slump aided support for the dollar following a tepid jobs report released last Friday. The USD/JPY traded at around 105.10, remaining below a six-year high of 105.71, on Friday.

The euro was subjected to fresh policy action by the ECB last Thursday, but managed to make a slight recovery against the dollar, trading at $1.2945, just a bit off last week’s 14-month low of $1.2920.

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