Flash crash and extreme trading slams sterling

Jake Cordell
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Sterling was in free fall during early morning trading (Source: Getty)

Sterling has been rocked by an extreme day of trading about a freak flash crash overnight rattled markets and sent investors running.

After dropping at least six per cent against the dollar in a matter of minutes, the pressure failed to lift and sterling had its worst week of trading since the referendum.

A fresh sell-off had the currency down more than three per cent for most of the day against both the dollar and the euro. A mini afternoon revival left the pound off 1.5 per cent at $1.2427 and €1.1133.

Read more: Where next for sterling after the flash crash?

In the past 36 hours the pound has lost an almost unprecedented five cents against the dollar and briefly dipped below the crucial psychological mark of €1.10. Talk of parity against the single currency stalks the markets.

The Bank of England has said it is investigating the crash, though it is unclear what it can actually do or what it will discover the market hasn't already got its head round. Meanwhile, the fallout trundles on.

Sports Direct was the first big company to admit it had been stung by the flash crash, saying it took a £15m hit as hedging contracts kicked in when the pound was languishing below $1.20 for a few minutes overnight.

Inflation expectations rocketed to their highest level in three years, and the chances of the Bank of England acting to cut interest rates faded.

What is going on with sterling?

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