Skip to main content



Britain’s vote to leave the European Union battered the British pound by more than 11% Thursday night and into Friday morning, pushed down stocks in Asia and pointed to a day of steep falls across the world’s financial markets. It was a brutal drubbing for investors who had stacked up bets that the U.K. would choose to stay.

The pound traded as low as $1.3230 in London’s early hours, as a pink-fringed dawn rose over the city and the British Broadcasting Corp. called the referendum for Leave. That was the lowest level against the dollar since 1985, and an epic move for a developed-market currency. The pound edged back up and was at $1.36 by 7 a.m. Just hours before, it had peaked above $1.50. Futures markets in the U.S. pointed to the S&P 500’s opening down 5%; in Britain they indicated a fall in the benchmark stock index of nearly 9%.