Skip to navigationSkip to content

The UK’s surprise “leave” result throws markets into chaos and sends the pound to a record decline

Reuters/Toby Melville
Leave supporters celebrate the result.
By Adam Pasick
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

The UK’s shocking decision to leave the European Union has thrown financial markets into chaos.

Both main British broadcasters, ITV and the BBC, called the vote for the “Leave” camp at 4:40 AM local time. The unexpected turn of events walloped the British pound, which plummeted by more than 10% against the dollar—by far its biggest intraday decline in history.

“This is what happens when markets think they’ve got it right, and they haven’t,” said the Guardian’s Dan Milmo.

He warned that Friday’s trading could be on par with Black Wednesday in 1992—when the UK was forced to abandon its currency controls and devalue the pound.

The FTSE 100 index of the biggest UK stocks is expected to open at least 6% down from Thursday’s close, erasing tens of billions of pounds in value.

George Soros, who made an estimated £1 billion shorting the pound back then, has warned that a vote for Brexit will have catastrophic consequences for the UK and global economy.

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.