June 24, 2016 (LBO) – The British referendum on whether to stay or leave the EU will be a leave vote, according to both ITV and BBC, who forecast an exit based on results rolling in.
BBC forecast a four-point leave victory of 52 percent to 48 percent. A leave vote will be disastrous for PM David Cameron who may have to step down, political commentators said.
The British currency initially soared to a 2016 peak of 1.50 dollars amid signs that “remain” was winning the day, but fell 4 cents in 5 minutes when returns from Newcastle showed the “remain” forces posting a smaller margin, 50.7 percent to 49.3 percent, than expected.
The pound hit a new low for the night at $1.3879, down 6 percent. The largest cause for the downswing in the pound was a prediction by ITV of a 75 percent chance of the UK leaving the EU.
City traders are bracing for a massive selloff when the London stock market opens at 8am. The futures market is indicating that the FTSE 100 index of blue-chip shares will plunge by 480 points, a drop of around 7.5 percent.
That would wipe around £120bn off the Footsie, which is home to many of Britain’s biggest companies.
Asian stock markets proved volatile as well, with Tokyo stocks and U.S. futures plunging.