The historic referendum deciding whether Scotland should be become an independent country happens September 18th. The results are expected after the US markets close and before London opens. This means that the foreign exchange market is the best place to be for seeing and perhaps trading on the news as they break – news which is critical for the future of the UK and the next moves of the British pound.
Here is a potential timetable for the events:
Scotland officially rejects independence – GBP/USD sells the fact.
- Big update: Networks call the elections: No to Scottish Independence
- No campaign on track for victory – is GBP/USD a “sell the fact”?
- Initial signs of landslide No result send GBP/USD to higher range
- YouGov: 54% No 46% Yes – GBP/USD on the move to next resistance
All times here are GMT, which is one hour behind British Summer Time (BST).
- 6:00 Voting begins. The media coverage of the event reaches a new peak and every move of the pound becomes related to rumors regarding the vote, turnout percentages, last minute declarations from politicians, etc. Note that the turnout is expected to be very high in all regions. The release of British retail sales numbers is likely to be ignored, and so are the echoes from the previous day’s FOMC meeting (see the quick preview).
- 21:00 Voting ends. In most election campaigns, this is the time that TV networks publish the exit polls. At this time, I have been unable to confirm the existence of exit polls, but this is quite likely. The article will be updated. If the exit polls show a clear direction, an immediate and sharp reaction is expected. If the exit polls match the opinion polls which show it is “too close to call”, we can expect very choppy and wild moves. This is when forex liquidity is at its lowest: US markets are closed and only New Zealand and Australia are open. Thin liquidity + big news = wild action. Remember that a No vote is more priced in than a Yes vote.
- September 19th, from around 01:00 to around 5:00 Real results are expected to begin flowing in. This is when the bigger drama begins as we are expected to get updates every few minutes. There are 32 local authorities and each one reports the time separately. See the image below for a predicted timetable of announcements from the different regions. The Tokyo session also comes into play, as well as stock markets in Asia. The Guardian notes that the three regions estimated to be announcing their results last account for 25% of the electorate.
- 5:30 – 6:30 This is when the official result is expected to be published in a press conference by Mary Pitcaithly. Even if the result is already known, the impact of the official statement could have a major impact as well, just as traders in London arrive at their desks. The full reaction to the results is expected then, when liquidity is at its highest.
Here are the predicted times of announcements of different regions, in BST, that come from the Press Association, combined with a ranking of the potential of a Yes vote, from Nicola, a Yes supporter. Click the image to see the full image.
These are the main times to watch. If you have additional information or corrections, please let me via the comments section or via the contact form.
A recount will be announced on a regional level, only if there are complains. A close race does not imply a recount of the whole vote according to the rules.
- GBP/USD levels to watch out for
- GBP/USD empowered by latest Scottish polls
- The case for Yes – 5 reasons why the polls could possible be totally wrong on Scotland
- Scotland Referendum: what the betting odds imply for GBP/USD
- GBP/USD could retest 2010 lows if Scotland votes to leave UKU
In our latest podcast, we discuss the Scottish referendum among other topics:
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