Aye or Nay?
Referendum Day is here. The polls opened at 7am this morning and Scots will be able to vote until 10pm tonight and have their say on whether Scotland remains part of the United Kingdom or if after 307 years, we need to go our separate ways and divorce. Which way is it going to? No one really knows! Opinion polls are showing slight leanings towards the no campaign at the moment but they are openly admitting that these should be treated with extreme caution as the number of undecided voters is enough to swing the vote either way. Similarly with no past records for this vote, there is no historical precedent for research companies to compare their findings to.
Initial results are due around 2am on Friday with the main results expected around 5am so by this time tomorrow we should know one way or the other. In the meantime, there will be lots of volatility in the markets. Exit polls have the tendency to be quite unpredictable and today could be one of those days when hearsay and rumour drive the markets. The rest of the world will also be looking on with interest. Barack Obama has tweeted his supported for leaving things just as they are, citing a “strong united, United Kingdom is important”. Spanish onlookers will also be interested with how the vote turns out as Catalonia could push for similar votes if this proves to be successful.
In economic news, the Bank of England released their minutes yesterday and noted that the exchange rate had been volatile due to uncertainty over the referendum and the most significant development over the last month was the weakness in the Eurozone economy. With basic pay still rising at an interminably slow rate below inflation, there is still no rush for an interest rate hike and the voting remained at 7-2.
In the US, Janet Yellen pledged to keep interest rates on hold for a considerable time amidst fear over the recovery of the labour market. Even after exiting from quantitative easing in October the Federal Reserve pledged to keep interest rates near zero for as long as possible.
Lots of news today amidst referendum fever. Out of the UK there are retail sales figures but the main data comes out of the US with building permits, housing starts, jobless claims and a Janet Yellen speech all happening today.