UK referendum: Blame the weather, not Brussels

The outcome of today’s crucial UK referendum on EU membership will partly depend on how many of the 46.5 million registered voters cast their postal votes and turn up today at voting booths which opened at 07.00 (UK time) and will close at 22:00.

Opinions polls have concluded that a lower voter turnout today would favour the Leave vote while a higher turnout would favour the Remain vote.

But intentions to vote are not the same as actually ticking the ballot box. Bad weather is more likely to keep people at home and turnout low, favouring the Leave vote while dry weather would in theory encourage people to vote, in turn favouring the Remain camp.

There have so far today been scattered showers across the UK and the Met Office has issued an amber weather warning for the East of England, London and South-East England, with predictions of thundery showers throughout the day.

However, the Financial Times is reporting that in many parts of London there are long queues at several polling stations and the Met Office is forecasting largely dry and cloudy weather elsewhere in the UK.

It is somewhat ironic that the unpredictable British weather, a favourite topic of conversation, could potentially change the British economic landscape for years to come.

The consensus expectation is that if the UK votes to remain in the EU, sterling, UK equities and to an extent the euro and global equities will rally sharply. But this rally could start to fade after a few days, as markets refocus on global data and events and the British turn their attention to the all-important matter of the Euro 2016 championships and perennial question of whether Andy Murray can win a second Wimbledon title.

But acute uncertainty and market volatility would likely persist for weeks and potentially months should the leave camp win today’s referendum, particularly if it wins by only a very narrow margin and/or turnout is low.

Read the full article on my website.