September 18, 2014 / 11:30 AM / 3 years ago

Sterling jumps in Asia as markets wager on Scottish union

Some British sterling money in coins and bank notes is seen September 2, 2005. BANKG REUTERS/Catherine Benson

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Sterling surged in early Asian trading on Friday after an opinion poll carried out on the day of the referendum showed opponents to Scottish independence had a widening lead on the day of the vote, though it was not a true exit poll.

Markets have increasingly wagered that the “No” camp would win and quickly took sterling to a two-year peak on the euro and a two-week high against the U.S. dollar.

Shortly after voting booths closed at 22:00 p.m. BST, YouGov reported support for Scottish independence amounted to 46 percent of the electorate with 54 percent wanting to stay in the United Kingdom. YouGov contacted Scots it had previously canvassed in recent days and its survey is not akin to a full exit poll.

Just under two weeks ago, it produced a poll that briefly put the independence campaign ahead, sending shockwaves through the British establishment.

The pound climbed half a U.S. cent to $1.6445 GBP=D4, a marked turnaround from a 10-month low of $1.6051 touched just last week.

The euro fell to 78.45 pence EURGBP=D4 from around 78.78 just before the opinion poll hit dealing screens.

Laurence Janta-Lipinski, YouGov’s research manager, said the organisation’s last poll had picked up a “small but significant late swing from Yes to No on polling day”.

“This YouGov poll indicates the union has prevailed - it certainly looks more comfortable than it did 10 days ago,” Janta-Lipinski told Reuters. “It look like the union will remain intact for the time being.”

Reporting by Wayne Cole, editing by G Crosse

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