Armed with energy drinks, cigarettes (or vapes) and coffee, London’s financial traders are gearing up for a general election all-nighter.
City workers will be glued to their terminals for the next 24 hours, preparing themselves for any swings in global financial markets as Britain’s voters head to the polling booths.
Trading floors in the Square Mile and Canary Wharf are being packed with extra staff as banks look to take defensive measures or make a quick buck from market movements, which will be driven by the results of the hotly-contested race between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn.
“We’ll have extra staff overnight and all hands on deck come Friday morning,” said Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com.
He added that there will be “lots of coffee and fag breaks to keep the senses sharp,” but “no booze.”
Banking giants including Barclays are understood to be putting additional staff on the ground in New York, London and Singapore to help clients manage risk as markets react to the election outcome.
“I’ll be planning to drink loads of coffee and, depending on how it all goes, maybe a few whiskies, too,” said Ricardo Evangelista, a senior analyst at ActivTraders.
Simon Harvey, an FX analyst at Monex Europe, added: “We will have a rotational team on throughout the night on both the research and trading desks, with hotels booked in the vicinity for those working the overnight period.
“Additionally, the full trading team is expected to arrive earlier on the Friday given the heightened volatility in the currency market that is expected.”
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Speculation over how the pound will react to different election outcomes has mounted in recent weeks, following an-already rollercoaster ride for sterling during 2019.
A Conservative majority could fire the pound above $1.40, analysts have said, while a Labour victory may send it falling to a 35-year low of below $1.15.