So crunch day in the UK is here as voters head to the polling stations to decide on the nation’s immediate future within, or outside, the European Union(EU). Latest opinion polls suggest the Bremain option will prevail as voters go for the perceived safer option rather than a big step into the unknown. Financial markets tend to agree with the pound sterling at its highest level against the dollar for some time and gold heading lower back into the $1,250s at one time, although pulling back above $1,260 on some prevailing nervousness about the final outcome.
But the polls have been erratic right up to today and some observers put the result as too close to call. However if the Brexit (Britain exiting from the EU) vote should prevail, which is still a possibility, the financial fallout could be very quick to follow and very sharp indeed with a rapid turnaround in the pound sterling – perhaps back to $1.40 or lower – and probably a soaring gold price given that the ramifications would be a serious blow to the whole EU experiment and perhaps lead to its breakup as other anti-EU factions in a number of other member countries gain heart and seek their own exit referenda.
We won’t know the official outcome until tomorrow morning, but indications one way or the other would probably start to become apparent by the time the polls close at 10 pm this evening, BST. Things could get very volatile indeed if the outcome continues to be seen as too close to call, and if Brexit does end up ahead we’d be looking at a brave new world ahead. if Bremain wins then there would be huge sigh of relief from the UK establishment, which is generally supportive of remaining in the EU, and from the EU itself. But, one suspects, EU internal politics will still be changed forever. It will have come too close to the brink for comfort.