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The UK’s vote for Brexit in the EU Referendum has wiped £122 billion of the value of the FTSE 100 as financial markets around the world reeled at the news.
The FTSE 100 fell 7% within minutes of the stock exchange opening and the pound has plummeted to a low not seen since 1985.
The pound to Euro exchange rate fell sharply, to levels last seen in 2014 and experts questioned the Euro’s very survival.
The pound has dropped to a 30-year low against the dollar, with one single vote count in Sunderland causing in a fall greater than that of historic Black Wednesday in 1992.
Stocks were in free fall and City of London traders were engaged in “frantic” trading overnight as the markets began a rollercoaster ride.
Exchange website xe.com also appeared to have crashed on Friday morning, as users frantically checked the dwindling rates.
Markets in Asia are down nearly 3% and Japan halted trading as uncertainty hit.
The pound has initially soared as Remain was predicted to win, but then saw a dive bigger than that seen on Black Wednesday, when the 1992 Tory government was forced to withdraw Stirling from the European exchange markets.
It fell 18 US cents against the dollar, “easily the biggest fall in living memory” according to Reuters. Investors are also fearing for the future of the Euro after it fell 3.1% against the dollar, Reuters reported.
“Extra staff were brought in and sleep-deprived worked plied with pizzas, sweets and coffee to keep them going through the night,” City AM reported.
Banks like JP Morgan booked hotel rooms in Canary Wharf to keep extra manpower nearby.
The London Stock Exchange opened at 8an and the FTSE 100 had fallen more than 7% within minutes - even 1% is considered a dramatic fall.
David Cameron is due to issue a statement this morning in an attempt to calm the markets, followed be Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England.
Financial markets have been racked for months by worries about what Brexit would mean for Europe’s stability.
“Obviously, there will be a large spill over effects across all global economies if the “Leave” vote wins. Not only will the UK go into recession, Europe will follow suit,”Matt Sherwood, head of investment strategy at fund manager Perpetual in Sydney told Reuters.
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has said that voters have “spoken clearly” and the Government’s job is to “get on with that decision, protecting the economy and doing all we can to get the best outcome for Britain”.
Cameron has made clear he “remains the prime minister and will carry out the instructions of the British people”, said Mr Hammond.
Volatile trading saw the pound break through the 1.5 dollar mark, its strongest performance since December 2015, after Nigel Farage appeared to concede defeat in the face of a YouGov poll and City analysis showing a lead for Remain.
However a slim victory for Remain in Newcastle followed by a significant win for Leave 15 miles away in Sunderland dramatically shifted the balance in favour of Leave, The Press Association reported.
As Brexit campaigners in Sunderland erupted into cheers, jitters hit the currency market, sending the pound to 1.43 dollars – reportedly its biggest drop since the 2008 crash.
Analyst Joe Rundle, head of trading at ETX Capital, said: “To put tonight’s volatility in perspective, sterling’s plunge on that Sunderland count was bigger than Black Wednesday’s 4.1% drop. Markets are incredibly nervous now and it’s definitely tin hats time.”
The pound had surged by 5% over the past seven days as Brexit fears appeared to recede, 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.
Chancellor George Osborne’s former economic adviser, Rupert Harrison, said the fluctuations in the pound were “an expression of the deep uncertainty that is going to face businesses all around the country and indeed in the whole of Europe”.
“How can they invest when they don’t know what is going to happen next, what their trading relationship is going to be,” he told ITV News.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that the EU vote “makes clear that the people of Scotland see their future as part of the European Union” after all 32 local authority areas returned majorities for Remain.
Britain’s vote to leave the EU has “very significant implications” for Ireland, and Taoiseach Enda Kenny will make a statement after a special meeting of ministers this morning, a spokesman for the Dublin Government said.
Source: Huffington Post