Sterling spreads its wings to hit 2016 high against the dollar as EU referendum voting kicks off

Emma Haslett
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The pound was weaker against the dollar (Source: Getty)

Any jitters over the outcome of the EU referendum were well and truly quelled this morning, after sterling soared to hit its highest this year against the dollar, topping $1.49 for the first time since December.

The pound was up 1.4 per cent at $1.4911 in late morning trading, while it rose 0.64 per cent against the euro to top €1.31.

The news came as polls suggested the Remain side was on course to win - although the margin was still narrow enough to mean traders are unlikely to get much sleep tonight.

Societe Generale's Kit Juckes had a go at guessing what the vote would do to various currencies.

"They think it’s all over, in less than 12 hours it will be," pointed out City Index research director Kathleen Brooks.

"The polls have opened, people are keen to stress on Facebook that they are voting come rain or shine. Perhaps the rain, thunder, and lightening are pathetic fallacy that could hold significance if either side win.

"Even though we all know that polls can be rubbish, the markets seem quite happy that the Remain camp has done enough to win."

Meanwhile, Betfair gave Remain an 86 per cent chance of winning, putting the Leave camp at just 14 per cent.

“Remain has been backed hard again this morning with [odds] coming in from 1/3 to 2/13 on the back of £4m traded," said Betfair spokesperson Naomi Totten.

"There was nearly £10m traded on the day of the Scottish Referendum so the market will be worth watching closely as polling day continues."

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